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Stitched Fractals:
Newport Art Museum

Project Category 

Collection-based archival research

Fashion + Textile design

Exhibition  |  Artist talk


2020 - 2021


Newport Art Museum, Newport, RI

The Newport Art Museum invited fifteen trans-disciplinary artists around New England to search the Museum’s collection for inspiration or reinterpretation and create an original work of art in response to a museum object for an upcoming exhibition "Call & Response”. It was the first time artists created new works by interpreting pieces within the collection.


Throughout Summer 2020, artists worked with Senior Curator, Francine Weiss to select works from the Museum’s collection and archives - ranging in over 2,700 works of art including prints, drawings, photographs, sculptures, decorative arts, paintings, and textiles. New works and installations were displayed in the galleries alongside the piece to which it responds. Public programming included artists talks and orchestral presentations from the Newport String Project, playing compositions paired with inspired artworks on view.

In the grip of this global pandemic, many of us grapple with flashes of anxiety, panic, and fear which can often replace creativity with paralysis for the unknown. This work is a reflection of creating within a difficult time, collaged moments in thread. Working with material histories and objects that fragment and compartmentalize, I selected an abstract carved sculpture by artist Hugh Townley (1923-2008) titled, “Love Nest”, particularly due to his preferred method of carving fractals and hiding invented iconographic vocabulary. His title additionally allowed me to consider the concept of what constitutes a nest, or nesting, as our homes and studios abruptly became nests into which we have retreated during this pandemic.


Reflecting on fragmentation that 2020 brought forth, I chose to work with a new material, faux leather, and create a series of wearable body pieces inspired by Townley's sculpture. Bringing together studies of fashion designers who combined graphic abstraction into a vocabulary of accessories and clothing, including Elizabeth Hawes, Giacomma Bella, and Stephen Burrows, my experimentations with faux leather geometric shapes became interchangeable prototypes for the body. I tossed aside predetermined planning and began collaging, draping, pinning, and sewing leather on the dress forms allowing the pieces to become what they wanted/needed to be. Simultaneously, I was designing patterns from textile paintings and drawings to print on vinyl to incorporate into the faux leather forms for this series of prototypes titled Stitched Fractals.

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