There are artists who use textile development as the medium for their expression and there are those whose work translates well into the woven world. “Soft,” a Vans-sponsored exhibition running at LA’s Superchief Gallery, focuses on the latter—and one would be lying if they didn’t find the imagery featured in the show uncommon to the world of textile art. Curated by artists Sean Morris and Michael Hsiung (themselves also showing work in the installation), “Soft” comprises 30 machine-woven tapestries (52×70 inches each) by 30 different artists. Each artist contributes to the overall energy of the exhibit in dramatically different ways. And fortunately, considering its made-in-the-USA production at George Clark’s Photoweavers, the work is rather affordable.
This was a first for many, including the co-curators. As Morris shares with CH, “Mike and I have a mutual love for tapestries and woven art, but had never made any ourselves, so we were excited to go through that process… and it made sense to share that excitement around.” They began reaching out to Morris’ artistic community in Australia, Hsiung’s in LA, and others whose work they felt would be an appropriate fit. “Everyone we approached was just as excited/curious to see their work woven, so it made for a lot of good vibes,” Morris continues.
“The artists all came at it from different angles and the results were pretty wild. A lot of us took a fairly graphic approach, but we also had watercolor and ink drawings, and acrylic paintings—those translated so well,” he says. “We’re stoked on the whole collection.” The visuals range from abstraction and psychedelia to cartoonish or sexual. And well-known artists including Luke Pelletier, Chris Yee, Bonethrower and Austin England contributed.
All of the works in the show were translated from their initial medium to textile at the aforementioned division of George Clark’s Fine Art Tapestries, which curator Morris found online. There, photographs of art can become anything textile-related. As Clark explains, “We are a boutique textile mill specializing in short runs of custom designed fabric. We primarily sell under the brands Fine Art Tapestries and Pure Country Weavers. We weave wall tapestries for art.com and are in fact one of Art.coms largest suppliers of art products in any form.”
“Our textile mill is world-class and we are unique in that all of our jacquard looms are single-repeat construction,” Clark continues. “Most textiles are woven in a repeating pattern, we have the largest collection of single-repeat looms in the United States. We are a natural fiber mill and focus on cotton, and most of our employees are second-generation weavers.” Not only did Morris enlist Clark, so did LA’s Lilian Martinz, who we covered at the start of the year. Clark is thrilled when artists find them and commit to their North Carolina facility. But from what we’ve gathered, the artists who work with Clark are also pleased to see accurately adapted, high-quality textile iterations of their work.
“Soft” is running now through 29 October at Superchief LA, 739 Kohler St. The art, produced in editions of 10, can be purchased through Superchief online for $300 each.
Images courtesy of Superchief Gallery