Hosted by Iris Nectar Studio, the traveling Feminist Fiber Art exhibit opened in Somerville on Friday, Aug 15, and featured female artists with a focus on art pieces created with various forms of fibrous material.
The opening took the form of an art crawl throughout Somerville. It began with artwork on display at Washington Street Art Center from 5 to 6 pm.
Throughout the hour, the art center was at maximum capacity, with visitors only allowed to enter upon people leaving in order to not crowd the venue.
“It’s not just an exhibit: It’s a budding community project.” So greets the poster at the front entrance of the gallery. The very nature of this gallery is an attempt to promote art within the community, encouraging local artists to share their work and make what they want to make.
And it was that impressive craftsmanship that was on full display at the gallery during opening night. The work gives viewers the unique experience of seeing embroidered, woven, knitted, and crocheted works made in unconventional ways, with many of the pieces touching on sexuality and feminist themes. Featured artists included the likes of Michelle Gauthier, Sally Hewett, Jess de Wahls, and Michelle Kingdom.
The second stop of the art crawl took patrons to Aeronaut brewery. There, more art was on display, along with a table of fresh produce for sale courtesy of Ground Somerville.
With good beer on hand and unique art on display, Aeronaut garnered an even larger turnout than the maximum capacity at the Washington St Art Center.
A particularly interesting piece on display at Aeronaut was New York artist Kjersti Faret’s hand-embroidered set Adapt or Survive. Consisting of three pieces, it featured a naked woman with her hands wrapped by two snakes and her neck dressed with a deer, a wolf drinking a bottle of wine that then poured out from its missing stomach, and a couple staring at a giant troll-like creature in a river with a trail of blood coming either toward or from the figure.
Rounding out the last of the crawl was the live music component located at Arts at the Armory. In keeping with the night’s theme of feminism, each band was fronted by strong women attired in their own handmade costumes.The show featured a lineup of local Boston bands like Feral Jenny, Ellen Siberian Tiger, and Dent.
On the balcony at the final venue of the crawl was a life-sized replica of a woman lying down on a plank. Another life-sized model was sitting on a block looking downward, with a series of wires and strings leading down to an open and empty carton of soy milk behind the figure. The piece garnered a great deal of attention, inviting gallery visitors to sit down and discover their own meaning for it.
While a good chunk of the artists were from Massachusetts, most were from places all around the world, creating a sense of universal solidarity between the art and the feminist themes peppering the projects. It’s this very sort of DIY art collectives that are popping up with increasing frequency in the Hub that inspire younger audiences in need of motivation and artistic inspiration to go out and display what drives them. And if the opening crowds were any indication, the city is ready for a lot more of this.
Your move, artists.
FEMINIST FIBER ART. FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT FEMINISTFIBERART.COM