Ziek And Shapiro Make Their Marks
by Linda Chestney
What is it that invades artists’ psyches and propels them toward new exploration while fueling the flames of inspiration many years after they’ve first waded into the profession? More than 30 years after they each made a lifelong commitment to their work, mastering the process and materials of their medium along the way, potter Mark Shapiro and weaver Bhakti Ziek both say they are still challenged, awed and “lucky” to be doing what they do for a living.
While they work in totally different media, parallels do exist. “Both Mark and Bhakti are virtuosic in their media so it was easy to picture the two bodies of work together in a show,” said Joanie Morris, a member of the Aidron Duckworth Art Museum selection committee that was responsible for choosing the two guest artists. “Both artists’ works have calligraphic qualities that create a curious dialogue among the pieces.”
Ziek, who resides in Randolph, Vermont, is an internationally known fiber artist. Working with both traditional, ancient techniques as well as computer-aided looms, her work has evolved dramatically over the years. A commissioned, permanent installation of six 16-foot vertical panels composed of silk, tencel and metallic yarns she designed and executed was recently installed in Princeton University’s Community Hall. She said the project called on her to use all the knowledge she has acquired over the years as a weaver and artist and pushed her to explore new territory and gain new professional insights.
Interplay between visual elements and calligraphic notations of Ziek’s daily life are often woven into her cloth creations. “Rain” is a 5’ x 7’ work that is tonally monochromatic, but the dimensionality of raindrops in its concentric rings is mesmerizing. It’s juxtaposed with random letters that seem to have no significance. But as they say, “Art is in the eye of the beholder,” and my take is that it symbolizes the randomness of life. Eventually, the letters make a word and eventually raindrops absorb into the lake or sea and become their own story.