Sunday, March 3, 2013

Worth Seeing: An Errant Line at the Spencer

 A viewer stands in front of large textiles in the new show An Errant Line

 An Errant Line is an impressive large scale textile installation by Ann Hamilton and Cynthia Schira at the Spencer Museum in Lawrence.  It spans many galleries of the museum, and took eight years to plan.  An Errant Line refers to threads of a textile that float freely on a loom making an unexpected decorative pattern.  A happy mistake or opportunity, these lines are a result of threads pulled from a tight weft.  These irregular lines are called "errant."

The show integrates parts of The Spencer Museum itself into the installation, including art works and architectural structure.  To prepare for the exhibit, Hamilton and Schira looked at works located in the museum.  Pieces were picked based on the artists' personal reaction to them. Often the art they were most attracted to was in storage or in KU's anthropology facility.   The items were scanned, then reinvented into their work.

On opening night in March, Hamilton and Schira discussed their work process in an informal panel.   They explained that engaging with the art from the museum allowed them to think about the nature of museums and the objects museums conserve. Before an art work comes to a museum, someone composed the art in a state of consciousness.  Once the art has been created, the viewer is able pick on this chain of thought when experiencing it. Hamilton compared the effect to the piano that sits in the central court of The Spencer; one can feel the history of performance even when the piano is silent.

Both Hamilton and Schira are highly regarded in the textile field.  Schira is known for her use of a secondary weft in weaving, an innovation she found to be spontaneous.  Hamilton is recognized for her large-scale installations.  The artists met in the 1970's while Schira was a textile teacher at the University of Kansas and Hamilton was her student.  The student/teacher relationship has grown to collaboration status between the two artists.

The exhibit will be on display though August 11.

 Installation as seen from above

 Display showing the work process of Schira

1 comment:

  1. Nice way to decorate your walls. I have never done that. My effort to beautify the walls in my house was to order big-sized canvas prints from, from images of western art. I use the same angel motifs in all of the rooms painted by different painters, such as this one by very interesting English artist Stanley Spencer,