Second string: Another fiber-art exhibition opens at Queens College

Second string: Another fiber-art exhibition opens at Queens College
Photo by Luchia Meihua Lee
By Merle Exit

The field of fiber art is having a moment here in Queens — two of them, actually.

A pair of exhibitions entitled “Rewoven: Innovative Fiber Art” are now both on view. The first one opened last month on the campus of Queensborough Community College, and on April 6 its counterpart opened at Queens College’s Godwin-Ternbach Museum.

The opening drew almost 100 people, celebrating the creativity and elegance of the works on display, and the community spirit shared between the college and Taiwan, where the idea for the dual exhibitions began, according to the museum’s director and curator emeritus, Amy Winter.

Winter first saw many of the artworks when she accompanied Luchia Meihua Lee, executive director of the Taiwanese-American Arts Council, to an exhibition of fiber art in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and she selected pieces from that show to bring to Queens for the two-part “Rewoven” exhibit.

“I chose these on the basis of my familiarity with textiles and fiber art and my interest in anthropology and ethnic art,” said Winter. “Having organized three other textile shows from the GTM and Queens College Costume collections, I knew I wanted to bring this show to Flushing when I first saw it in Taiwan.”

Whereas the initial “Rewoven” show that opened at QCC on March 16 featured mold-breaking pieces mainly fashioned from high-tech materials, Winter said the Queens College show focuses more on traditional materials and craftsmanship.

“Rewoven, Part II is less technologically oriented than the exhibit at QCC,” said Winter. “There is more color and handcrafting of traditional fiber materials in the objects on display here. Even though a dominant concern with nature and the environment are central to both shows, at QCC there is more use of unexpected materials like bubble wrap, Styrofoam, and nylon vegetable casings woven or fabricated into artworks.”

Winter said she also wanted the Queens College exhibit to emphasize themes of Chinese tradition and environmental concerns.

“From beginning to end, this exhibition’s focus on nature is no doubt related to Taiwan’s major religion of Taoism, which embraces the unity of cosmic and natural worlds,” said Winter. “The artists’ mastery of craft and imaginative recycling of tradition – hallmarks of Asian art through the centuries – have resulted in works of great originality and innovation.”

Artwork includes “Smiling Face as a Flower” by artist Hsu Wei-Hui and described as using mixed media. What appeared as a tower of pillows is called “Rice Cake Tower of Happiness” by Pan-Ping Yu using fabric and polyester fiber. Yu has a second piece appearing like food at a table, “The Key Ingredients” using fabric and recycled pulp. What may be viewed as a checkerboard, “Impressions of Summer” by Teresa Huang, uses gold thread. Artist Huang Wen-Ying displays a short jacket, “Golden Military Coat,” which is hand-woven and hand-sewn and has coated copper and Teflon cable. A photo-realistic landscape “Long Flows Zhuoshui River” is created using linen and indigo dying.

The Queens College “Rewoven” exhibition runs through May 26, but its QCC counterpart runs through June 20.