March 17, 2014 through April 7, 2014
Opening Reception: March 21, 5-7
Turner Carroll Gallery is excited to announce an upcoming group exhibition titled
"Woven." It will be open to the public beginning March 17 and will continue through
April 7. This show will exhibit tapestries by blue-chip contemporary artists Deborah
Oropallo, Chuck Close, Squeak Carnwath, Alex Katz, and Hung Liu. This diverse group
of artists is united by their interest in manifesting their striking contemporary art in the
age-old medium of tapestry weaving.
From Incan apparel to Middle Eastern carpets, Dark Ages wall hangings in European
fortresses to brocade coronation gowns in 19th century France, the use of weaving over
time has been incredibly varied. In 1801, the invention of the Jacquard room represented
a pivotal moment for the process; developed by Joseph Marie Jacquard, this loom greatly simplifed the process of producing complex textiles. The Jacquard loom's weave is
dictated by a punched card, which controls the movement of each individual thread. A
hook, suspended over thousands of individual threads, raises or lowers each thread in
correspondence with the presence or absence of a hole in the punched card. This binary
system creates the complex weave pattern of a Jacquard tapestry. Indeed, this type of
punch card programming was the foundation for all other binary computing systems and,
ultimately, the modern computer.
The ancient art of weaving collides with the modern, mechanized world in the Jacquard
loom. In this exhibition, contemporary art is displayed in a simultaneously ancient and
current medium. This collision represents a tension in our everyday lives; in the digital
world, so much of what we see is pixelated, though we see only the compound whole.
Here, thousands of individual threads precisely intertwine to render a united image. These
tapestries force the viewer to confront that reality, illuminating the delicate balance
between pixel and image, fragmentation and whole, thread and tapestry. Likewise, by
weaving together contemporary images and an age-old technique, the viewer is reminded
that the modern image, and our digital world, would be impossible without the
technology of the Jacquard loom.
A work like Sunflower by Chuck Close, which will be featured in this show, demonstrates
the contemporary possibilities for weaving. Close is known for his strikingly detailed,
“photorealist” portraits; when translated to the medium of tapestry, the detail of these
works is all the more incredible. From afar, they appear to be “whole,” united
photographs; up close, they reveal themselves to be fragmented into thousands of
individual threads. Close’s use of a classical medium to render photorealist, contemporary
images highlights the incredible technology of the Jacquard loom.
Unlike Close, the work of Alex Katz deals in abstraction; his portraits are composed of
flat plains of color and shading. The specificity of the Jacquard loom, in which each
colored tapestry thread must be chosen, reveals the labor that lies behind these seemingly
simplisitic images. Ada with Sunglasses, for example, required six months of
collaboration between Katz and the tapestry manufacturers.
Deborah Oropollo, in contrast with Katz, creates deeply layered, multi-dimensional
portraits. In her series Lawless, Oropollo imposes 18th century portraits of powerful men
over contemporary images of women in sexualized clothes. This collision between modern
and classical is ideal for the tapestry medium, combining the traditionally feminine art of
weaving with the masculinity of the modern machine.
For more information, please contact Natalie Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org or
call the gallery at 505.986.9800.