Sunday, August 16

Kathryn Pannepacker at Smile

My dear friend (I'm so happy I can call her dear friend!) Kathryn Pannepacker has a 2 person exhibit with David Foss at Smile Gallery this month (21st and Chestnut above the Thai restaurant!). I met Kathryn when she started curating her fiber biennial shows at Da Vinci Art Alliance back in 2000. It was the first professional show I'd been in as an artist, and Kathryn has been a mentor and inspiration to me ever since.

The show is entitled "Parallel Lines". While you could think about that theme as just a formal concept- and there are a lot of striped pieces in the show- Kathryn interpreted it as referring to the parallel lines of her art interests. She is a weaver, a painter, a stitcher, a guerrilla artist, a teacher. In the show you can see glimpses of those aspects of her practice. The piece behind her on the photo above was created by reusing elements from an installation.

These two wax-infused embroideries explore her text embroideries. They are diaristic, impulsive. "Art Trick" refers to how often we artists are asked to donate pieces for charities or do something artistic for the community out of the goodness of our hearts and for the mere benefit of getting our names out there. It's all good, but not helpful when you owe money for your house, your car, your student loans... The "Magnet for $9000" piece above it is a very real need. One of the ways Kathryn has inspired me is about making clear your intentions. If you state what you want or need in life, write it down so it's out of your head or tell other people, you're far more likely to fulfill that desire or need. It is through that way of thinking that I got up the gusto to become a teacher at Fleisher and apply for grad school!

This is my favorite piece in the show. I know it was one of the longest-worked pieces, and I'm drawn to the seductive quality of the woven fabrics. I think fabric holds history and therefore makes more connections for the viewer than yarn does. The "windows" make sense, as Kathryn has been working on refurbishing her new house, has been working on a project with the homeless, and has also been doing a residency with incarcerated women. (note as of 8/19/09 this piece has sold! hooray for the art magnet!)

A more literal interpretation of the "Parallel Lines", this piece uses the woven matches in the neutral-colored areas that she's used in her previous "Setting our Hearts on Fire" flag series. This maintains the "flag" feeling but seems more personal.

Above is an installation shot of small weavings. And below is one that spoke to me the most. This series were quick weavings- more diary-like, and they have that feel of gritty urban textures that I am captivated by. They are reminiscent of all the layers of paint and stucco and brick and posters that crumble from the walls in our neighborhoods here. Like strata.Here is an installation shot showing some of David Foss's paintings alongside Kathryn's Black and White weaving. It was the most unified pairing in the installation, and it made me wonder if that was planned in the making of the pieces at all, or if it was just a moment of serendipity when they arranged the hanging.

If you want to see more of Kathryn's parallel lines, go to the intersection of Broad and Lehigh where you can see her Wall of Rugs Part II mural.

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