The Thread Is Not Straight – September 10 – October 29, 2022 – Denny Dimin Gallery, Hong Kong
Denny Dimin Gallery, Hong Kong is pleased to announce our forthcoming group exhibition The Thread Is Not Straight September 10 – October 29 with an opening reception on Saturday, September 10, 4-6pm.
The Thread Is Not Straight includes the work of international and locally based artists: Diedrick Brackens, Cristina Camacho, IV Chan, Marie Hazard, Ip Wai Lung, Judy Ledgerwood, and Josie Love Roebuck who all work innovatively within the media of textile and painting to show a complex array of personal and political narratives.
The use of textile, material and thread has experienced a resurgence in contemporary art as a means of exploring identity, heritage, abstraction and the subversion of mainstream art traditions. Denny Dimin Gallery has had an ongoing investigation into the legacy of the Pattern and Decoration movement, which started to explore these themes in the 1970s and 80s with one of the included artists, Judy Ledgerwood as an early proponent. The P & D movement celebrated the artist and media which were slighted by the art world at the time. The work made by afﬁliated artists such as Ledgerwood, referenced fabric design, quilting, embroidery and other art forms deemed to have more associations with craft. Through The Thread Is Not Straight, Denny Dimin Gallery continues to exemplify how global artists use textile, thread, and associated media to disrupt notions of perfection, gender, body, abstraction and objecthood.
Judy Ledgerwood, whose paintings, Chanteuse, 2021, Coloratura, 2021 and Prima Donna, 2021 and Contralto, 2021 feature in the exhibition, has become a reference point and inspiration for artists who want to redeﬁne parameters of art and abstraction under traditional gendered codes. Ledgerwood’s decorative forms challenge the stereotypical approaches to painting. Her practice considers domestically created work by women, utilizing diamonds, quatrefoils, ﬂora, and seed-like shapes within triangles to represent ciphers symbolic of feminine power.
Queering the material in subverting its use and placing it in the forum of supposedly high culture is a starting point for artists examining otherness within their work. Diedrick Brackens focuses on weaving with cotton to highlight the black historical association with that material. The various techniques in his practice such as quilting are akin to a conceptual assemblage of history showing a legacy of his personal heritage and that of his home nation of the United States. Ip Wai Lung takes a look at the wider social discourse of control set by normative expectations of how we look, spend our leisure time and how that informs our sense of self. In his piece One Million Years of CONTROL, 2022, Ip Wai Lung uses different materials to wrap and bind dumbbells. The process and end result is set to simultaneously call to mind the Chinese heritage of foot binding as well as what is deemed to be acceptable standards of beauty and health across a Western society.
The tactile process of sewing informs how Josie Love Roebuck encounters identity – both her own and others. She associates the act of putting needle to material with putting pen to paper, but the innate hands on quality allows her personal experience to be heightened. This personal interaction gives many of the featured artists the ability to immerse themselves in the narrative behind the work. Marie Hazard, who uses weaving as her method of creating work, looks to the practice as a means of uncovering the history of her selected textile and its origins. It also opens the work to the concept of labour and cost of this physically intensive art form. Like Brackens, her purpose is to uncover the origin stories of the material , as the process allows her to meditate over these narratives through the act of making the work.
Several of the artists featured in The Thread Is Not Straight challenge the gendered female association with material, textile and thread, Cristina Camacho and IV Chan use these associations to explore their own female identity, bodies and relationships. Camacho adds layers of precise acrylic paint in painstakingly accurate symmetry before cutting into the shapes allowing the canvas to fall and ﬂay where it pleases. Her intention is to both give life to the painting with its own sense of governance and to start to mirror parts of the body such as skin, the heart, the vagina and vulva each of which hold strong female association and ownership, yet are equally governed by predeﬁned codes of perfection. IV Chan examined similar ideology in her early practice creating soft anamorphic material sculptures which has since evolved to include more childlike elements and fabrics which relate to personal female histories pertaining to her family and origins. The imperfection of her use of thread, allows the material to be the controlling factor, unleashing the memories like a stream of consciousness. The sound elements within some of her larger sculptures bring further life to the material.
The materiality of these works allows for a more visceral interaction to both the works themselves and the themes which lie underneath. By using the Pattern and Decoration movement as a blueprint we ﬁnd ourselves in a time where artists are rebelling against the staid norms that have dominated the cultural landscape and those who were traditionally on the periphery are now challenging the predeﬁned codes of what is normal or “straight”.