July 20, 2021 (Palo Alto, CA) - Qualia Contemporary is pleased to announce Interlaced, an exhibition of seven artists adapting the ancient medium of tapestries and textiles to tell a variety of stories relevant to today. The exhibition honors the rich — and often overlooked — legacy of craftwork, and highlights the medium’s growing presence in contemporary art. Featuring art by Josh Faught, Terri Friedman, Robert Kushner, Hung Liu, Kiki Smith, William Wiley, and Xiaoze Xie, Interlaced will be open to the public from August 5 to October 1, 2021, with an opening celebration hosted on August 14 during gallery hours.
Fiber art is ripe with symbolic potential, binding individual insignificant yarns into a singular impactful piece. Tapestries bring out the connective potential of weaving and highlight the medium’s unique capacity for detail, vivid color, and texture. Each of the artists in Interlaced engages with the medium in a unique way, applying distinct styles and processes to their pieces. Friedman and Faught both employ fiber art as their primary artistic medium, using hand-weaving techniques that replicate historical processes and styles to create elaborate works. These methods afford them the flexibility to use non-traditional materials in their pieces. The other artists in the show are well-known for their painting practices; for them, weaving is an experimental way to extend their painterly aesthetic and ideas into a new form using advanced electronically-controlled tapestry technology. In this way, the exhibition shows a cross-section of the contemporary fiber art world and reasserts the versatility of the form.
In Change of Seasons and Further Changes, Robert Kushner weaves dark, florid patterns embellished with gold thread. Kiki Smith’s images also reflect the natural world with delicate depictions of flora and fauna, while Hung Liu’s rich and colorful tapestries combine portraiture with imagery of birds in expressive compositions. Many of the pieces on display reflect a modern day condition or concern, thereby bridging the historical medium with contemporary culture. For example, William Wiley’s Creative War Map (2005) responds to the U.S. military intervention abroad with humor and irony. Xiaoze Xie’s jacquard tapestries depict the tactile nature of books, newspapers, and other texts in a unique style, blending realism with abstract elements, representing the transient nature of collective historical memory. Terri Friedman uses fiber art to think about brain science, and to grapple with anxiety around personal and political upheaval; She calls her weavings “somatic ‘posters’ of urgency.” Josh Faught combines textiles, pop-cultural detritus, and archival materials to consider the role of language and community in constructing identity.
These ethereal yet tactile works ground diffuse concepts in the material realities of everyday life. Interlaced aims to highlight the breadth of fiber artists working today and help elevate this historical medium to the dominion of fine art in the cultural consciousness.
About Josh Faught
Josh Faught’s practice combines textiles, pop cultural detritus, and archival materials to address the relationships between language, community, and constructions of identity.
Recent solo museum exhibitions include a site-specific installation at the Neptune Society Columbarium as part of the SFMoMA SECA Art Award Exhibition (2013); the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2013); and the Seattle Art Museum in conjunction with the Betty Bowen Award (2009). Solo exhibitions also include Kendall Koppe Gallery, Glasgow (2014, 2019); and Lisa Cooley, New York (2010, 2012, and 2014). In addition, his work has appeared in numerous group exhibitions, including at the New Museum, New York (2017); Casas Riegner Gallery, Bogota (2018) Sadie Coles HQ, London (2018); the Saatchi Gallery (2018); the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (2014); and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2014). In 2017, Faught also produced a site-specific work for St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle, commissioned by Western Bridge. Faught is the recipient of the 2009 Seattle Art Museum Betty Bowen Award, the 2011 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant, the 2012 San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art Award (SECA), the 2016 Artadia Award, and the 2016 Eureka Award from the Fleishhacker Foundation.
Faught is a Professor within the Textiles and Graduate Fine Arts programs at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and Oakland.
About Terri Friedman
Terri Friedman’s work has traversed the landscape of painting, kinetic sculpture, writing, collaboration, and now, fiber art. She explores issues of gender, the mind and body, and more recently, neuroplasticity and resilience. After receiving her BA from Brown University and her MFA from the Claremont Graduate School, she launched her career in Los Angeles. Friedman has been included in solo and group exhibitions at home and abroad. Her work has received critical reviews in publications such as Artforum, Art in America, Frieze, Sculpture, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Artsy, and more. In 2019, she was featured in Vitamin T: Threads and Textiles in Contemporary Art (Phaidon Press). Friedman currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family and is an Associate Professor at the California College of the Arts.
About Robert Kushner
Robert Kushner is an American painter known for his involvement in the Pattern and Decoration movement. Founded in the mid-1970s, the movement sought to revere and produce forms of art that had been marginalized as feminine or trivial during the height of Modernism. Kushner’s work utilizes many influences—including Georgia O’Keeffe, Islamic textiles, and Chinese brush artists like Qi Bashi—to make ornamental yet emotionally involved paintings. His work is characterized by a use of rich color harmonies and bold, fluid drawing, combining natural, representational elements with abstract, geometric forms. Born in 1949 in Pasadena, CA, Kushner has created several large commissioned mural pieces around the world. He has been featured in three Whitney Biennials and two Venice Biennales, and is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Tate Gallery in London, and Museum Ludwig in St. Petersburg, among others.
About Hung Liu
Hung Liu is a contemporary Chinese painter. Widely recognized for her large, painterly depictions of traditional and contemporary Chinese women, children, and refugees in muted, earthy hues, Hung has been producing art since the early 1970s, experimenting with painting as a method for social change and critique. Her artwork is often described as a hybrid of her own personal experience with the Cultural Revolution and the Maoist regime, as well as an appropriation of the themes and styles of historic and contemporary Chinese painting. Her work notably draws from both the imagery of ancient Chinese art, as well as the Chinese Socialist Realist style of painting in which she was originally trained. She has received extensive honors and awards for her work, including two painting fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Joan Mitchell Fellowship. She was born in Changchun, China, on February 17, 1948, and currently lives and works in Oakland, CA.
About Kiki Smith
Kiki Smith is a contemporary American artist best known for her figural representations of mortality, abjection, and sexuality. With a special fascination with the body and bodily fluids, Smith often examines excreta such as blood, semen, and bile in carefully crafted sculptures that bear the influence of Surrealism. “I always think the whole history of the world is in your body,” Smith has said. The multidisciplinary artist employs tattooing, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, textiles, and photography, to engage with a range of themes that relate to the human condition. Born on January 18, 1954 in Nuremberg, Germany, she moved with her father, the sculptor Tony Smith, and mother, the singer Jane Lawrence, to South Orange, NJ while she was still a baby. The largely self-taught Smith enrolled in the Hartford Art School for a brief period of time before moving to New York in 1976. In New York, she quickly became a fixture of the Downtown arts scene of the time which included artists like David Hammons and Jenny Holzer. Today, Smith’s works are held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, among others. The artist continues to live and work in New York, NY.
About William Wiley
William T. Wiley is a contemporary American artist. Maintaining an eclectic practice that has been associated with the Funk Art movement, Wiley incorporates drawing, painting, sculpture, performance, and filmmaking into his work. His paintings act as an aggregate and are composed of a wide range of obsessive marks, materials, and mediums, frequently layered on top of a map or other information-coded images. Often featuring illustrations of fantastical universes, his works contain both historical literary references and integrate geometric abstraction. Born in Bedford, IN on October 21, 1937, he earned both his BFA and MFA from the California School of Fine Arts shortly before joining the UC Davis Art faculty in 1963, where he would instruct and influence prominent artists like Bruce Nauman. Wiley has enjoyed widespread acclaim and success, participating in both the Venice and Whitney Biennials in 1980 and 1983, respectively. His work is held in many important collections, such as the Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. The 2009–2010 exhibition “What's It All Mean: William T. Wiley in Retrospect,” offered a comprehensive retrospective of Wiley's career.
About Xiaoze Xie
Xiaoze Xie is an internationally recognized artist and the Paul L. & Phyllis Wattis Professor of Art at Stanford University. Xie has exhibited extensively in the U.S. and internationally. His recent solo exhibitions include “Objects of Evidence” at the Asia Society Museum in New York City (2019-20) and “Eyes On” at the Denver Art Museum (2017-18). His work is in the permanent collection of such institutions as the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Denver Art Museum, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, Baltimore Museum of Art, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Oakland Museum of California. Xie received the Painters and Sculptors Grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation (2013) and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2003).