“Axiom” presents three artists rooted in craftsmanship who conceptually challenge the expectations of their discipline. “Axiom” addresses the commonalities that link their work, either through shared propositions as well as assumptions around the nature of craft. Frank Connet, Lialia Kuchma and Anne McGinn hold skill and materials in high regard and they acknowledge the historic narrative that has defined their discipline. Nevertheless, their thinking about their work pushes across the border of the imagined, across materials, into refined and distinctive artistic voices.
Frank Connet is well known for his textile work: shibori-based geometric compositions, primarily in indigo and over-dyed walnut, that have a bold, graphic presence. Connet’s complex, organic patterns have an overarching geologic and meteorologic reference. His work also suggests processes of accumulation and mutation, as well as the tension between matrix and void—where latent energy continually agitates against restraint.
Lialia Kuchma’s tapestries and prints are inspired by a host of ideas, primarily folded paper studies that model for the figure in her work. The three tapestries in this exhibition appear as elegant apparitions floating in a void, or perhaps a structured garment that has been cast off and left where it landed. Kuchma is also a trained calligrapher; mark marking is a potent, expressive force for her. Here, she remarkably translates that immediacy of line and gesture into a structured, binary weaving process.
Anne McGinn, most known for large-scale tapestries, is represented in this exhibition by a group of ceramic sculptures, along with a new body of unique woodblock prints. When McGinn’s health compromised her ability to continuing weaving, the artist took up ceramics as a way to continue a studio practice. In clay, McGinn has fashioned often large-scale forms, which like a tablet are written upon with complex surfaces of glaze and incised line. Many of her pieces allude to figures, while others are built more like monuments, stoic and stolid as sentinels.
“Axiom” curator Doug Stapleton is an Associate Curator of Art with the Illinois State Museum Chicago Gallery. He is also a visual artist and educator.
Save the date November 17 at 6:30pm for GALLERY TALK with curator Doug Stapleton and artists Frank Connet, Anne McGinn and Lialia Kuchma for Q&A.