On view in Newport, RI through April 28th at Coastal Contemporary Gallery is “INTO THE FOLD, Threads of Curious Realities.” Gallery literature aptly describes the show: “There is a messy yet beautiful, organic chaos of form that melds effortlessly into an orderly management of geometric shape. Colors are bright, clean and clear in moments of rest or muddled and earthy where they collide.”
This is a two-person exhibition, which features artworks by Sarah Meyers Brent and On-Kyeong Seong. Individually their fabric creations are conceptually participating in an aesthetic conversation that deals with appropriation.
Qualities of humor and pathos are evident in the artwork of Sarah Meyers Brent. She seemingly uses every piece of laundry from her home to make artwork. The feeling is of armful after armful of the family’s clothing picked up hastily before company calls. Brent re-purposes her family’s stuff making it her stuff. She plays with the idea of domestic bliss turning it into sculptural and painterly statements. “Archway” is a free standing sculptural creation by the artist in which she builds form with her family’s socks, tops, bottoms; even her bras and panties are used to top off the sculpture. Creepy and funny is one’s first impression wondering among curious realities whether the included underwear is clean or dirty?
At times Brent explores that which is overwhelming about motherly responsibility. By way of contrast, in the bricolage of “Archway” the artist’s loving touch comes across in her effort to reference a garden trellis with the addition of sprays of artificial flowers. Brent’s wall work “Hot mama” has the same detritus of clothing in a circular picture frame, which suggests a portal of a different kind. “Pajama Time II” includes a lot of squirt-able expanding foam, used for insulation, a material that in Brent’s work serves as a cascading binding agent that glues together and nearly obliterates mementos of domestic life.
On-Kyeong Seong’s mixed media canvases and wall reliefs utilize a variety of mechanically-produced stitchery used to create a luxuriant and layered textural surface. In her work she combines painted canvas and fabric elements and the effect is sometimes reminiscent of stylized Indonesian Theatrical Masks. Her artwork “By Being Different” includes motifs of chicken wire, the image of an eye and elements that abstractly suggest plumage. In “The Color Flowed From Bricks” Seong combines her signature swirling textures of sewn relief in the foreground with a painting style of modernist geometry in the background. The interplay is fascinating and mesmerizing. Sea influences also are incorporated into Seong’s artwork. The artist depicts imagery of an individual oyster containing a pearl in at least two process works. Two artworks in the show by Seong developed specifically for this exhibition are freeform shapes simply titled “V” and “VI.” These are like bridges relating in assemblage style to Brent’s artwork, which serves to intensify unity between the respective artist’s works.
This is the last weekend of the show. It is well worth including Newport in your plans to see the exhibit. In the process audiences will enjoy getting acquainted with Coastal Contemporary Gallery’s refreshing curatorial aesthetic.