The Long Beach Museum of Art (LBMA) is pleased to present an innovative and historical exhibit aptly entitled “Thread.” Textile art is currently capturing the imagination of artists, collectors and museums around the country. It has long been used for practical, ornate and expressive means—a cultural vessel for storytelling in the absence of written word. Fiber artists working with the medium continue to push boundaries, redefining the dialogue between traditional and contemporary methods of woven narration. The selected works—ranging from modern to contemporary style—exhibit a complex, undulating display of the ability of thread to tell stories and evoke woven symbolism.
“Thread.” showcases a culmination of work by some of today’s leading artists: Terri Friedman, Miyoshi Barosh, Hannah Epstein, Diedrick Brackens, Tanya Aguiniga, Ardeshir Tabrizi, Channing Hansen, Moffat Takadiwa, Jeffrey Gibson, Luis Flores, Christina Forrer, Tschabalala Self, Ebony G. Patterson and Chiachio & Giannone, Evelyn Ackerman, Slater Barron, Ruth Greenberg, and Mylene Raiche.
Long before climate change became a dominant topic in the news, many of these artists chose to use recycled materials to create. For example, Moffat Takadiwa creates large-scale sculptural pieces from ordinarily discarded materials, including items such as computer waste, aerosol cans and spray bottles, toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes. He weaves together these small, everyday objects to make impressive organic forms evocative of jewel-encrusted excess or a ritualistic kind of minimalism. The artist’s choice of materials communicates his concern with issues of consumerism, inequality, post-colonialism and the environment.
A contemporary artist of Cherokee heritage and a citizen of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Jeffrey Gibson grew up in the U.S., Europe and South Korea. As a young adult, he was involved in queer club culture and interested in popular music, fashion and design. These experiences inform his vision of exuberant hybridity, in which glass beads, metal jingles, ribbons, song lyrics and abstract geometric patterns come together. Gibson uses materials and references that resonate in modern and contemporary Western art, as well as indigenous and ancient cultures.
Diedrick Brackens uses cotton as his primary material because it is a very easy material to manipulate, it takes color beautifully and, he says, “Its historical significance in the U.S. relative to enslavement, violence and subjugation has had lasting effects on black bodies. I think of the process of handweaving cotton as a small way to pay tribute to those who came before me and worked with the material under very different circumstances.” Each of Brackens’ works is a literal piecing together of histories within layers of fabric.
The collective of artists represented in “Thread.” are from countries all around the globe and range in age and experience from young artists to well-traveled veterans. These artists have created timeless pieces out of a wide array of materials.
Ron Nelson, executive director of LBMA, states, “In many ways, ‘Thread.’ exemplifies what the LBMA is about. We are not easily defined and quite unpredictable. Are we on the road less traveled? Maybe, but we also like the idea of blazing our own trail.”
Long Beach has a rich history of nationally and globally successful artists who have left an indelible mark on the art world, and LBMA has been a proud member of the Long Beach art scene for nearly 70 years. To see more of LBMA’s collection, visit the Museum’s website at lbma.org .
The Long Beach Museum of Art inspires passion for the contemporary arts in diverse audiences through exhibitions and collections, arts education, historic preservation and arts and cultural programming. The museum is one of only 6% of American museums accredited by the American Association of Museums.