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Pacific University hosts fabric work from Oregon craft college faculty

by: COURTESY PHOTO - The work of Jiseon Lee Isbara tackles the daily routine that binds us all with rolls of fabric art. Isbaras work is on display along with three others at Pacific.The slow-going crafts of sewing and stitching are no longer passe sport for squinting grandmothers and domestic housewives.

Taking cloth production to another level of creativity and thought, four fiber artists from Oregon College of Arts and Craft show that any material can be used to fabricate complex and aesthetic works of art in Fiber Arts Now at Pacific University’s The Kathrin Cawein Gallery. The exhibit runs through Nov. 20.

Using various mediums, female faculty members showcasing the cutting-edge realm of fiber art include Jiseon Lee Isbara, Shelley Socolofsky, Judilee Fitzhugh and Helen Hiebert.

Admission is free and gallery hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

At Fiber Arts Now, Isbara brings an evolution of past works and ideas, where she reflects on the repetitive motions and multiple roles of everyday life as an artist, teacher, mother, wife and immigrant.

On long, fabric scrolls that unravel from mid-wall to the floor, Jiseon Lee Isbara stitches repetitions of unreadable texts, archived information and printed patterns of drawings and images.

On one white scroll fragmented with shades of gray, there are patterns of red and brown human heads with ambiguous texts pointing to different parts of the brain, a mishmash of stitches. Nearby, tally marks and printed numbers that reflect times of the day suggest habitual markings made throughout the day.

Daily life for Isbara includes compulsive planning, deficient communication, constant compromise and repetitive responses, according to her artist’s statement.

“The formal language of the work expresses the paradoxes that collectively inform each other; longing, losing, accumulating; dissipating, ritualistic, and mundane,” said Isbara.

These fabric presentations, many of which are woven, stitched, screen printed, drawn and dyed — run anywhere between $1,200 to $1,700.

Fine details

In her ambitiously scaled and finely detailed pictorial tapestries, Shelley Socolofsky weaves local histories, archival images and personal experiences with cotton warp, wool and silk wefts.

She will display four works at Fiber Arts Now, including two flat tapestries that explore the history of carpet making, hand-woven on traditional upright looms.

More recently interested in the social constructions of hierarchies among peoples, Socolofsky’s newer work brings together woven and fabricated materials to explore controversial histories in 3-D type assemblage installations.

In 2011’s “Frontier,” an exploration of the history of the American fur trade, along with three still images, Socolofsky gathers human hair from disparate sources (undocumented day laborers and high end salons) which she weaves together in a “pile” technique similar to the shag style of a Persian rug.

In her artist’s statement, Socolofsky said human hair is “a sensuous fetish on the head that becomes repulsive and garishly intimate when separated from the body.”

In her most recent work, “Landscape Unit: Border Town (plaid),” Socolofsky assembles horse hair, handwoven cloth, sewn elements, including pages of a racist children’s book from the 1930s, and a shelf to consider the term landscape.

To Socolofsky, the land isn’t just something to look at, it’s the collective impact of the people who live there.




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