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New Exhibits Conclude Year-Long Exploration of Textile Industry at Winthrop Galleries

Quick Facts

 The two new exhibits are Sonya Clark's Material Reflex and Christine Kirouac's Siren Fall.
 An opening reception for both is Feb. 8 at 6:30 p.m. in 119 Rutledge Building.

Flat Twist on a Remnant of Idyllic Days 

ROCK HILL, S.C. — Winthrop University Galleries has partnered with the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles to present Sonya Clark: Material Reflex on view in the Rutledge Gallery Feb. 4-March 8. A catalogue accompanies the exhibition with an essay by Lowery Stokes Sims, Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design.

Clark will present an artist talk Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. in 119 Rutledge Building.

Showing simultaneously Feb. 4-March 8 in the Elizabeth Dunlap Patrick Gallery is Canadian artist Christine Kirouac’s exhibition Siren Fall. Kirouac’s video installation portrays young Canadian girls interpreting camouflage fabric to create their own “fashion identity.”

An opening reception for both exhibitions will be held on Friday, Feb. 8 from 6:30-8 p.m.

These exhibitions conclude a yearlong exploration of the textile industry demonstrating fibers’ ability to express uniqueness within society. Historically humans have reflected individuality and cultural identity through hairstyle, clothing and furniture choices produced from fiber. Both artists investigate contextually these human relationships to material.

Material Reflex explores Sonya Clark’s symbolic and innovative interpretation of materials and weaving processes as a reflection of personal and cultural identity combining to create sculptural forms that convey larger meaning. Drawing from her African-American, Scottish and Caribbean roots, Clark takes seemingly common objects such as a piece of cloth or a strand of human hair and transforms them into visual commentary, challenging the viewer to embrace the subliminal context.

Madame CJ Walker, a woman whose wealth stemmed from the sale of hair products that “bettered” hair for African American women, is represented in a monumental portrait woven from black plastic combs, an object most African American women cannot utilize. Flat Twist on a Remnant of Idyllic Days, draws attention to the issues of race and class through Clarks’ co-location of 18th century patterned toile cloth interwoven with black thread, “flat twist” braids.

Clark was born in Washington, D.C. and has an M.F.A from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. She is currently a professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, and chair of the Department of Craft/Material Studies. She serves on the Board of the American Craft Council and the Advisory Board of the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C. Her most recent award from the United States Artists Fellows program accompanies previous honors from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Smithsonian and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, among others. Material Reflex will travel to the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles May 2013.

Christine Kirouac’s exhibition Siren Fall is an installation joining three sister videos; Scuffers, Pink Mist and Engage/Disengage. Kirouac often uses cinematic format to convey her social observations. This work captures young girls from London, Ontario, interpreting military fashion through the filters of suburbia. Militarism exists in uniformity and Siren Fall presents these girls and environments according to their own internalized aesthetic systems.

Kirouac received her M.F.A. from Concordia University in Montreal in 2002, and over the past twenty years has held several studio and production residencies at the Banff Centre for the Performing Arts and the Kunst & Complex in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Her media installations, performances and videos have exhibited globally in both galleries and film festivals. In 2012, her work was included in the inaugural exhibition of ‘Prime Time’ at the new Asheville Art Museum Media Space in North Carolina and she opened a solo exhibition entitled ‘Papermen’ at the Delta Arts Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. Kirouac will present an artist talk Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. in 119 Rutledge Building.

Both exhibitions are made possible through patron support, the Edmund D. Lewandowski Endowment, the Elizabeth Dunlap Patrick Endowment and a grant from Winthrop’s Global Learning Initiative.

Winthrop University Galleries are open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and closed on weekends and university holidays. All artist talks, exhibitions and receptions are free and open to the public.

For more information, call the Galleries at 803/323-2493 or e-mail Karen Derksen, Galleries director, at Follow the Galleries online on Facebook or Twitter.

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