Jessica Hemmings

Textile Writer

Association of Israel’s Decorative Arts

BY JESSICA HEMMINGS

Association of Israel’s Decorative Arts

This year’s COLLECT in London offered, once again, slim pickings for the textile enthusiast. One of the few notable exceptions to this disappointing rule was the Association of Israel’s Decorative Arts’ stand, which showed the work of several artists working with fiber in refreshing ways. Established to assist the development and awareness of Israel’s decorative arts, the AIDA first showcased work at SOFA Chicago in 2003.

Gali Cnaani’s simple silhouettes of garment shapes created through burnout printing leave the copper wire weft intact but erase all trace of the surrounding red cotton warp. These strikingly graphic weavings reveal, on close inspection, torn edges to each pick at the moment the fiber is eaten away by the burnout process. Particularly in the larger works, the copper weft threads, suspended like closely packed stripes, feel both precarious and provocative. A world apart from Cnanni’s spare designs are the embroideries of Lotus Peles-Chen whose thready style adds stitch to photographs from newspapers as well as unusual materials such as foam. Here the stitch is allowed to tangle and hang free, employed as an accent to an existing image. The work feels hairy and gives the impression that its placement is random, even verging on the uncontrolled. But from a distance, threads blend into each image to act as the perfectly placed accent, inseparable from the found images Peles-Chen works into.

What is remarkable about the artists represented by the AIDA is the breadth of approach and style they exhibit. No suggestion of a national style is evident; instead each artist is entirely individual. Something that is frankly so much easier said than done.

FiberArts Magazine (summer 2006: 9)