Exhibition explores fiber as a medium for critical and exploratory possibility

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Exhibition explores fiber as a medium for critical and exploratory possibility
Hardeep Pandhal, Untitled (The Lord Tebbit Series 1, 2, 8), 2019. Synthetic wool. Overall dimensions vary with installation.

NEW YORK, NY.- Hales announces Fiber of my being, a group exhibition in New York which brings together seven interdisciplinary artists: Teresa Baker, Bhasha Chakrabarti, Kite, Senzeni Marasela, Hardeep Pandhal, LJ Roberts and Phyllis Yao. The exhibition showcases the strand of their practice that explores fiber as a medium for critical and exploratory possibility.

In both figuration and abstraction, the works investigate the language of textiles to communicate personal, historic, and cultural connections to identity, through materiality, texture and touch.  Material hybridity is found in the respective practices and works — combining and recontextualising the vocabularies of painting, drawing and performance through fiber making. Fiber is used as an expressive medium to embrace contemporary themes and techniques whilst drawing upon legacies and rich traditions.

Teresa Baker (b.1985 Watford City, ND, USA) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA, USA. She completed her MFA at California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA in 2013. Baker’s practice is formally rooted in the modes of abstraction. In large scale, sculptural wall works, she explores personal and wider Native American histories. Irregular shapes reference lands and territories, and her mark making suggests mapping. Large green expanses draw on the topography of the Northern Great Plains, where the artist spent her childhood. Baker notes her use of materials draws on a ‘long history of fragments, coming together to form a whole.’ The sensitive works transcend their materiality, connecting to the artist’s Mandan/Hidatsa culture to explore how identity can relate to innate objects. Baker’s work is currently on view at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, AZ. She has had solo exhibitions at de boer, Los Angeles, CA (2021); Interface Gallery, CA, USA (2019) and Gray Contemporary, TX, USA (2018); and has been shown at Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, CA (2022); Public Address Gallery, New York, NY (2018); 215 Orleans, Beaumont, TX (2016) and Kiria Koula, San Francisco, CA (2015).

Bhasha Chakrabarti (b.1991, Honolulu, HI, USA) lives and works in New Haven, CT, USA. She has recently graduated from Yale School of Art with an MFA in Painting and Printmaking. Chakrabarti engages with artmaking as a process of mending, both literally and metaphorically. Primarily associated with clothing and articles of personal use, she extends the metaphor to encompass relationships. Ōlelo pāʻani (Playful Banter)(2019-2022) combines figuration with abstraction and hand-quilting with oil painting. To be viewed from both sides, the front only reveals the silhouette of two figures and the reverse features two nude bodies with their backs turned, in intimate conversation. Her quilting methods are informed by Kantha, a technique traditional to India, which combines old saris to make new works as well as the quilting of Gees Bend, Alabama. She worked with textiles in Delhi and was taught by esteemed Gees Bend artists. Chakrabarti was recently included in a group show, Wonder Women at Jeffrey Deitch, New York (2022) and in a presentation with Experimenter. Exhibitions include M+B, Los Angeles (2021); Gallery Gertrude, San Francisco, CA (2021); Lyles and King, New York, NY (2020) and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, CA (2020).

Kite (b. 1990, Sylmar, CA, USA) lives and works in Montreal, QC, Canada and Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. She received her MFA from Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School and is a PhD candidate at Concordia University, Canada. Kite’s interdisciplinary practice spans sound, video, performance, instrument building, wearable artwork, poetry, lectures, books, interactive installation and more. Her practice is grounded in Lakota philosophy which articulates a clear relationship between the body and knowledge-making. Tho Win (Blue Woman) #1 (2019) is a machine embroidered work, in blue leather and silver thread, which is a touchable score to be read by musicians. Kite implements a system of shapes from Lakota geometries to create the patterning. Her work has been exhibited at the Everson Museum of Art, Syracause, NY, USA (2022); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA, USA (2022); Chronus Art Center, Shanghai, China (2021) and the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Canada (2021). She also participated in the 2019 Toronto Art Biennial and is part of the Tulsa Artist Fellowship.

Senzeni Marasela (b. 1977, Thokoza, South Africa) lives and works in Soweto, South Africa. Marasela’s practice incorporates textiles, embroidery, photography, painting and performance. For over sixteen years, her practice was centered around a fictional alter ego, Theodorah Mthetyane. Through stories of Theodorah she traces the personal and collective experience of womanhood. Waiting for Gebane (2018) refers to Theodorah’s husband and his absence, communicating waiting and longing. Marasela stitches red thread onto umbhaco, a material used to make traditional South African clothing for dresses. Working almost exclusively in red, the color connotes South African history, from the period of ‘red dust’ in the early 1900s – a time of severe drought as well as the red mine hills of industrialized cities, which speaks to people migrating for work. Recent exhibitions include her solo show Waiting for Gebane, Zeitz MOCAA, South Africa (2021); The Power of my hands, Museum of Modern Art, Paris (2021); and Made Visible: Contemporary South African Fashion and Identity at MFA Boston, USA (2019). She also participated in the Johannesburg Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015). Her work features in prominent national and international collections, including the South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa; Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C, USA and MoMA, New York, USA.

Hardeep Pandhal (b.1985, Birmingham, UK) received his BA from Leeds Beckett University, England in 2007 and an MFA from Glasgow School of Art, Scotland in 2013. He lives and works in Glasgow, UK. Pandhal often uses the language of comics and video games to explore layered narratives and to confront the legacies of colonialism. The Lord Tebbit Series (2019) expands on an earlier collaborative project with the artist’s mother. This body of work refers to the British Conservative politician Lord Tebbit who, in the 1980s, coined the phrase ‘cricket test’ to ascertain immigrants’ loyalties to Britain through their loyalty to national cricket teams. Here, Pandhal embroiders onto reclaimed cricket jumpers, making them ‘unwearable,’ in an act of defiance. His work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including, most recently the British Art Show (2021/2022); Goldsmiths Centre of Contemporary Art (2020); Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (2019); New Museum, New York (2018); and New Art Exchange, Nottingham (2019). Pandhal’s work is included in the public collections of the Arts Council Collection, UK; British Council Collection, UK; and Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow.

LJ Roberts (b.1980 Michigan, USA) received a BA in English and Studio Art from the University of Vermont, VT in 2003 and an MA in Visual and Critical Studies, as well as an MFA in Textiles from the California College of the Arts, CA in 2007. They live and work in Brooklyn, NY. Their practice investigates overlaps of queer and trans politics, activism, protest, narrative, and craft. Roberts makes intimate embroideries, as well as large-scale textile installations, artist books, and collages. In Roberts’s intricate embroidered portraits, they create a beautiful tribute to each subject and the artist’s relationship with them. Each piece is stitched by hand, labor-intensive and takes months, even years to complete. In 2021, their first solo exhibition in New York City, Carry You With Me: Ten Years of Portraits opened at Pioneer Works and is now on view at the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University. Roberts’s work has been shown in many institutions including The Victoria and Albert Museum, UK; The Brooklyn Museum, NY; The 8th Floor, NY; Museum of Arts and Design, NY; The Powerhouse Museum, Australia; The Oakland Museum of California, CA; and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington D.C. where their work is in the permanent collection.

Phyllis Yao (b. 1994, New York, NY, USA) graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, RI in 2016 where she was a recipient of the Florence Leif Award. She grew up between Guiyang China and New York. Yao lives and works in New York City. Experimental in her approach; Yao’s large-scale works allow her to combine different methods of making — layering and creating windows in order to explore multiple formal and narrative elements. In painted and woven sections, there is a duality and tension in unexpected compositions. Yao makes herself vulnerable by exploring her own fears in the work, which she shares with the viewer. Her work has been shown at the Chinese American Arts Council, New York, USA (2021); King’s Leap, New York, USA (2021) and Ed. Varie, New York, USA (2018). Yao won the Presidential Scholarship to Anderson Ranch Arts Center, CO in 2019 and was artist-in-residence at Lijiang Studio, China in 2017.

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