There might seem a gulf between textile and computer code, but an exhibition at Dimensions Variable seeks to stitch the two together. A Thread of Execution, consisting of eleven contemporary artists who primarily work in fabrics, includes pieces and installations that cause pause for thought: what is a line, a system, a layer?
The show is premised on the idea that there are similarities between weaving fabric physically and weaving digitally. Focused on ideas of process from these two worlds, it finds common ground in shared terms. A “thread,” not only the loose end you pull carefully from your favorite shirt, is also a single component in a piece of software. Pile up and intertwine these threads together, and you have yourself a video game, or the internet, or a work of art.
The artists include Indira Allegra, whose sculpture and installations explore both textile and text, materials embodied and poetic experience. Julia Bland’s work includes colorful, ropy geometries that function like paintings. Pip Brant, who grew up on Western Plains Indian reservations, stitches abstract embroidery into linen. Laura Marsh’s pieces have an explicit political slant, using printed images on fabric.
The artists in the exhibition are a variegated lot, employing a wide expanse of textile methods to explore their sundry interests. One thing that ties them together is an impressive, top-tier education or international presence at esteemed art institutions. Another thing, satisfyingly so, is the absence of white men. Taken together, under the auspices of DV’s proposition, the works are meant to evoke complexity rendered through repetition. A thread is stitched, then another, then another.
What results are grids, formulas for production that humans have used for millennia. In thinking about the relation between textiles and code, the immediate connection may not be apparent. But keep pulling the thread, and you’ll find yourself a beautiful blanket of an idea.
A Thread of Execution
Through December 29, 2017
300 Northeast 2nd Avenue, MDC Building 1, 3rd Floor, Miami, FL 33132