“I think of these pieces as textile paintings–I’m drawing with fabric and thread to create my own artistic statement.” Cindy Grisdela.
A visual feast, this show is exciting and colorfully, powerful! Even while initially hanging the exhibition, people were knocking on the window, asking to come in and take a look. It’s been very well attended!
Cindy masterfully uses abstraction with form, color and thread to create new experiences that unfold while viewing within varying distances. The closer one gets, the more visually chewable, the works become.
The colors first grab the distance viewer. The forms then entice a visual journey that is a intentionally lead via directional threads, both literally and figuratively.
The forms are then enjoyed via the threading that provides varying treats to the eye.
The swirls, mazes and bubbling of the threaded fabric offer dynamic motion, even when the eye is at rest within any one area.
In her blog, she states,”
“One thing I’d like to convey with these pieces is that my art is concerned with color, line and shape, just like any other art who works in paint or another two dimensional medium.”
“My medium is fabric and thread, and there’s a reason I choose to create that way. The opportunity to add texture and dimension to my compositions with stitching lines is unique to textile art, and it’s that tactile component that drew me to the medium and keeps me excited about going into the studio each day.”
“I do all my own stitching–sometimes with freehand motifs and sometimes with straight or wavy lines, depending on what the composition seems to need. There’s no computer program that does that part for me and I enjoy feeling the texture coming to life under my fingers as I stitch.”
So much thought goes into each piece.. At the opening Cindy explained the mental work takes the longest time. This if followed by the physical configurations. Once they are complete, the stitching can being.
Even the novice viewer can see the slow and steady care and attention to detail of her cleanly laid out stitching. The precision is exquisite.
“If you are going to do something, you should do it well.” she explained to attendees. It’s true and quality from this care makes the works highly memorable.
My personal favorite work is 3 Friends: 67″ x 80″ to 12″
The three main center panels can be construed a variety of ways. To me, on first glance they have a boat-like motif with seemingly tall sails. It immediately reminded me of traveling adventures with friends. The beautiful nuance lighter, background colorings are like a sea. On second look, the motifs took shape as chairs, with legs that widen below. They feel like the steady and firm foundations that lifelong friends have to offer. The adventures are a-fixed a top of that grounding. Cindy told us how much she enjoys every viewer finding their own meaning and how it can be enlightening.
I also really love Aquarius.
Although her works are open in design along the external edges and tend not to have a border, this piece wonderfully shows the exceptionally configured dynamic entry and exits the eye travels through. In art we often are taught to either give our boarders an end point or put the subject mater within the central part of the piece so that our eye circles with the center areas and thus does not lead off the page.
Cindy, however, does this while also doing the opposite. The yellows and greens along the top and bottom capture our brains first.. they are vividly saturated and light. Our brain’s enter here and are thrust toward the center by not only contrasting black pathways but also the stitching of them. All roads lead to what looks like DNA.
Cindy told us the story of her first show in High School, where she coincidently won $5, for her artwork of a double helix. The other wonderful surprising aspect of the piece are the offsetting of left and right desaturated neutral areas that move into lighter bluish whites that work as backlit glass. Although the eye goes here first, the center design pushes forward and we arrive clearly on the subject matter that is fish like and has a character all to itself.
Overall, the show is also calming and provides a surprisingly active zen. The mark of a phenomenal mental artistry. Perhaps it the repetition and unity of the stitching or the rhythm of the line work that is never equidistant but full of human origin and voice. Perhaps its the areas where ones eyes can rest and yet still have a full meal to visually enjoy.
Of course the artist knows… the artist always knows how they want to imbue their work and how to send us on our experiential journey.
Cindy Grisdela is a Contemporary quilting artist, teacher and author of Artful Improv: Explore Color Recipes, Building Blocks & Free Motion Quilting, as well as her new book, Adventures in Improv Quilts: Master Color, Design & Construction. She has a BA in Fine Arts from the College of William and Mary and an MBA from George Washington University.