Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Go See "Frayed Stories of Life" at Arc Gallery in SF!


Subscribe to My Blog!

February 15, 2023

"Frayed Stories of Life"

Unique & Beautiful

Closes Feb. 18





I urge you to go see this exhibit which closes on Saturday.

Below is the statement of Rachel Leibman, curator of "Frayed Stories of Life," textile work by twelve artists, all women:

"This exhibit features artists who view textile art as a through line that connects past, present, and future. These artists pay homage to the fiber art of our forebears but do not attempt to replicate it. Their artwork is made for and of our times, employing surprising materials such as moth cocoons, electric cables, watch parts, plastic bags and video tape. They use these objects to shape, and even mend, the frayed stories of life."

I walked through the unassuming door of Arc Gallery on 1246 Folsom Street to enter a wonderland of quirky, offbeat, and surprising beauty, in this exhibit of textile art.

The Gallery is open with social-distancing 1-6PM on Wednesdays & Thursdays and 12-3PM on Saturdays.

Arc Gallery encourages but does not require visitors to wear face masks.

Below are just a few of the amazing artworks. I tell you, this exhiibit was so much fun! I'm sure you're wondering what a resourceful artist can do with moth cocoons:

These strange forms are by Dale Eastman. The being on the left is titled It's Never the Whole Story. The piece on the right is A Conference of Moths.

Eastman used: ceranchia apollina silk moth cocoons,

electronic capacitors and radial varistors. chicken wire and linen covered wire.

What the hell are radial varistors? Where does one find so many discarded moth cocoons? There are so many mysteries about this work, and the work itself has a powerful mysterious quality. It evokes zombies, birds nests. It's kinda creepy and I love it.

I photographed this from an angle to try to catch the layers and textures. These nine pieces by Holly Wong are titled Psyche Series (Psyche 3-11)

collaged paintings, drawings & fabric on wood panel. Wong just cut up a lot of her old work to make this new work. The net and other diaphanous fabrics give the Psyche Series an ethereal beauty. Below are all nine:

Linda Tapscott's Vessels of Life, below, are made of painted canvas, reed, and hemp twine, among other things. I didn't get the complete list of materials.

On the right is a close-up of two of the vessels, photographed for the catalog. By the way, you can buy the catalog of Frayed Lives. I'm seriously considering it. To buy the catalog, click here.

I think of these objects as spirit boats. I would love to have one to use in rituals. After all, the artist named them vessels, which means they are calling to be used. If I had one, I would put in something that I wished to journey away, something I had trouble letting go of -- like a torn-up paper representing a relationship with someone gone from my life, someone I couldn't stop thinking about. I'm thinking about a close friend who I have broken with permanently. It's good to have a few ritual objects around. Hmmmm...

Below is the work by Michelle Echenique called Unmuzzled. It is made entirely of the wires that hold the corks on champagne bottles, which are called muselets.

This is just the coolest thing -- a magical waterfall made from those thingies on champagne bottles that I didn't even know had a name! Muselet! So French, so romantic-sounding. "Ah, my little Muselet, I will love you forever!" Much more seductive than "Ah, my little wire thingie that holds the cork on the champagne bottle..." Muselet. I love that word. I'm going out to the liquor store when I finish this blog and get me a Muselet!

Echenique spent ten years collecting muselets for this sculpture. The title, iUnmuzzled, conjures up something being released. I imagine Rapunzel leetting down her gorgeous waterfall of hair. But hair lacks the quality of these hundreds of muselets, which can be seen through and remind one of fish hooks and eyeglass frames and ... what else?

Unmuzzled -- the title, the material, the object itself -- they are all very evocative. What does Unmuzzled evoke for you, Bloggellinis?

Below is a series by Rinat Goren, My Cup of Tea, made from -- you guessed it -- used tea bags! Hey, some artists drink champagne and others drink tea.

I am a major tea drinker, and I was astonished at all the subtly different tones she got from all those teabags. This and Unmuzzled take recycling to the transcendent level of art. I found My Cup of Tea hilarious and delightful.

Last but not least, one of Rachel Leibman's contributions. made of antique safety pins, wire, and rivets, Swaddled.

Even before I saw the title, I immediately thought Baby Blanket! And the wonderful irony of composing a blanket out of the very object that holds the diapers on -- safety pins! And then there's the downright adorability of antique safety pins. What an amazingly simple object a safety pin is. And yet, not so simple after all. The safety pin needed to be invented.

According to Google:

  • "Walter Hunt invented the safety pin substantially as we know it today in 1849. His improved pin design included a clasp that covered the point and kept it from opening, and a circular twist at the bend to act as a spring and hold it in place."

Hunt has a place in the National Inventors Hall of Fame -- as well he should, and I know that Leibman would agree with me.

Below is a close-up of Swaddled, in all its gorgeously colored glory. The wires give this work a rich quality, as if it were made with precious metals.

I've given you a taste of Frayed Stories of Life. There are so many more artists. And I only showed a sampling of the work that these six artists had in this show. Such a fountain of creativity, resourcefulness, humor and beauty.

Please go see this show before it closes. It's open until 6pm today, Wednesday and on Thursday and Saturday, 12-3pm.

Dear Bloggellinis: What fun to see the exhibit and what fun to write about it. I only wish I hadn't procrastinated QUITE so long to do the blog. Oh well. Your Blogmistress has many fine qualities. But doing things in a timely fashion is not one of them. But Carolyn says I've become more endearing as I've gotten less organized. So there! IF YOU ARE LOCAL, GO SEE THIS SHOW! Terry

Monday, February 6, 2023



Subscribe to My Blog!

February 3, 2023





Many people are speaking out about NOT watching the video of Tyre Nichols being beaten by the Memphis police.

In an Op-Ed piece in the San Francisco Chronicle titled "Why you absolutely should not watch the Tyre Nichols Police killing video," journalist Julie Scelfo writes:

Questlove, a musician and producer, has always seemed to me to have an amazing grip on his humanity.

In yesterday's Chronicle, there was a letter to the editor from Monika Fabijanska, who read Scelfo's warning too late:

  • As a curator, I felt obliged to watch it. And yet, I simply wish I could unwatch it... I come from a country with a horrible history, and I have been exposed to themes and expressions of violence for a long time. I've been working for a year with Ukrainians and felt the psychological impact of the war myself, and yet I wish I didn't watch Nichols' beating. This particular footage can do a lot of harm to the entire society; it violates us in a whole different way than things we've seen before.

So apparently, there seems to be something particularly horrible about The Nichols video that crosses some line.

But, despite being traumatized, Fabijanska goes on:

  • And yet, I cannot support the idea of censoring it. We want transparency, and we got it. Only successful reforms could justify my carrying this senseless death in my eyes forever.

So here's our dilemma: We need transparency in order to correct great injustices. I think we can all agree that it is a positive thing that we have video so that we know how Tyre Nichols died. HOWEVER, watching that video traumatizes us in a harmful way.

Scelfo feels there IS a way to watch such a video without being traumatized:

  • There is a time and a place for viewing videos of human rights violations: Settings like a museum or classroom where the content can be viewed with advance warning and in community with others, help separate the experience of the encounter from ordinary life, and help us process and make sense of it. 

I don't agree with Scelfo's belief that such a "safe" context could mitigate the trauma of seeing those images. I think she, and Questlove, have got it right when they clearly state:


And I would go even further:



Yes, some people in the police department and city government need to watch the video of Tyre Nichols' fatal beating by the police. People on juries for the trials of the police officers might have to see the video many times.

For me, it's enough that I know the circumstances of Nichols' death, that I know video exists of the beating. That's ENOUGH!

Personally, I have no tolerance for seeing violence. I didn't watch the Nichols video. I didn't watch the George Floyd video. When I was doing errands on 24th Street and heard there had been a terrible car crash, I fled in the opposite direction. I've been known to sit on the floor of the lobby in the movie theater, waiting for a violent movie to be over, so I can get a ride home from whoever I came with. I will do whatever I can to avoid violent images.

I did not escape one terrible still image that I will "carry in my eyes forever," as Fabijanska so eloquently puts it. It was a photo on the front page of the New York Times the day after 9/11. I won't describe it because I don't want to inflict it on anyone. There was a real controversy at the time over whether the Times should have published the photo at all, let alone on the front page. All I can say is, I wish I could "unsee" that image.

I don't think I'm a person who avoids trying to understand the terrible things that happen in this world. I spent five years immersed in reading about the Holocaust, in order to write a play about the subject. I still often read about the Holocaust. Just two weeks ago, I read a woman's very graphic account of violence she had witnessed. At the time I read it, I wished that I could "unread" her descriptions. Now, two weeks later, I only clearly remember being upset. I cannot remember exactly what the woman described. But 22 years after I saw that photo on the NY Times front page, I can remember it clearly. I FEEL it permanently and vibrantly residing inside my skull.

One picture is worth a thousand words. Everyone has heard that old saying. For me, it's true. That 9/11 photo is a thousand times more permanent in my memory than any description of violence that I've read.

If watching the police beat Nichols is a thousand times more powerful than reading about it, you could say that's a GOOD thing. Then people will be a thousand times more empowered to take action to prevent future police violence. But Questlove and the Fabijanska didn't speak of being EMPOWERED. They felt INJURED by watching the video.

According to the NY Times article, children are deeply affected by media violence:

Following the Sept. 11 attack, researchers documented how young children had developed acute stress reactions and PTSD from cumulative exposure to media coverage of the event, even though they didn’t personally know any victims. 

Media exposure to the terrorist attack at the 2013 Boston Marathon similarly precipitated PTSD symptoms in children and adolescents with those who already suffered from various stressors most likely to be affected.  

In short, there is a cumulative, traumatic effect of our current media landscape, and protecting mental health requires that we make careful distinctions about what type of media is appropriate to consume in various settings, by specific audiences. 

We are all now so aware of the terrible things happening all over the world. Of course, it is good that we understand that injustice is widespread and deep. How do we embrace this truth without being overwhelmed by it? The discussion about the Nichols video is an important opening into this very important question.

Dear Bloggellinis: Did any of you watch the video? If so, how did it affect you? What are Bloggellinis thinking about this issue? Are others also as violence-phobic as I am? I'm interested in your responses. Terry