Emily Barletta, Untitled (Brain), 2008
Emily Barletta, Untitled (Spleen), 2008
Materials for both pieces: Crocheted yarn and clay
Meredith Re' Grimsley, Lovely Bind, 2008
Materials: Watercolor, muslin, fuse-able interfacing,
hand-and-machine embroidered thread, and gel medium
If you can't see very well the above piece was attached to the wall, not hanging.
I enjoyed many of the pieces in this exhibition, but there was a small detail that I enjoyed even more than the delicate fiber work surrounding me. Written on every other name plate was a gentle reminder to not touch the artwork.
"PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH THE PRETTY RIBBONS."
These charming reminders matched the lighthearted nature of the exhibit and the delicate material that was used in many of the pieces. In addition to these reminders, the back corner of the gallery showcased a curious structure that clearly was not a part of the show.
"To understand the repetitive and labor-intensive nature of the works
in the show, help us complete this paper sculpture."
Ooh, fun! The tiny slips of paper were meant to be rolled and inserted into the chicken wire structure one by one so that participants could mimic the painstaking process it takes to complete fiber sculptures. I was gleefully excited to participate, and, as I'm writing this am semi-compelled to revisit the museum to see how far along the sculpture is (I'm nerdy). This was exciting to me is because I have been reading the book The Participatory Museum by Nina Simon, and this was the first time I had really gotten to see some participatory strategies at work since starting the book. The exhibit may have looked traditional to many other people but I could clearly see how the folks at MMAA were trying to take a pretty standard exhibit one step further by allowing spectators to become participants. No, I wasn't allowed to the touch the art, but I was allowed to touch the fun wire thingy in the back, and could understand the pieces on a deeper level without reading long and laborious paragraphs.
Definitely pay a visit to "Repetition and Ritual." It will be up until January. Pay attention to any one-way streets and you'll have a great day.