On view May 14, 2016 - April 16, 2017
George Tsutakawa Art Gallery
Through a series of pairings connecting The Wing’s collections with artworks by contemporary artists of Asian heritage, this exhibition explores relationships between myth and the everyday, commodity cultures and identity, and evidence and narratives of women’s labors, from handwork to small shops to factories. Drawing her title from Pablo Neruda’s Ode to Scissors, curator Namita Gupta Wiggers organizes the exhibition into a series of “conversations,” each offering a lens on how textiles shape — and form — history and human experiences.
In response to the museum’s collection, Wiggers selected three artists, one past exhibition, and will work with The Wing staff to develop an interactive workstation for the public. The artists are Americans of South Asian, Filipino, and Korean origin: Surabhi Ghosh, who moved to Canada in 2014; Stephanie Syjuco from San Francisco, and Aran Han Sifuentes from Chicago.
My work considers the liminal power of the decorative: the visual phenomena that permeate the edges of the spaces we inhabit. Constantly observed but frequently disregarded as a visual subject, ornamentation hides in plain sight.
What is the communicative function of ornamental patterning in (private) daily life and (public) cultural spaces? Where is it positioned in systems of belief, value, and political power? When inspected, this marginalized information—or rather the marginalization of this information—acts in the creation of place identity, traces shifts in cultural identity, and reveals competing narratives.
My work maps points of intersection between abstraction, minimalism, and ornamentation while expanding on a speculative understanding of these and other imbricated histories. Repositioning ubiquitous and universal motifs—circles, dots, hexagons, and stripes—I build complex compositions through accumulative mark-making. I attempt to construct patterns incrementally; my handmade geometry will never result in a “true” pattern.
STEPHANIE SYJUCO creates large-scale spectacles of collected cultural objects, cumulative archives, and temporary vending installations, often with an active public component that invites viewers to directly participate as producers or distributors. Working primarily in sculpture and installation, her projects leverage open-source systems, shareware logic, and flows of capital, in order to investigate issues of economies and empire. This has included starting a global collaborative project with crochet crafters to counterfeit high-end consumer goods; presenting a parasitic art counterfeiting event, "COPYSTAND: An Autonomous Manufacturing Zone" for Frieze Projects, London (2009); and “Shadowshop,” an alternative vending outlet embedded at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art exploring the ways in which artists are navigating the production, consumption, and dissemination of their work (2010-11). She is currently collaborating with the FLACC Workplace for Visual Artists in Genk, Belgium, on a new body of works utilizing 3-D scanning of Belgian and Congolese antiquities to produce hybrid ceramic objects addressing the legacy of colonialism, empire, and trade routes.
Aram Han Sifuentes:
Sewing is a time-based practice. Fiber as a medium speaks a language of accessibility, intimacy, and time. From its inception, it has been touched. To sew, the hand, armed with a needle, pierces the cloth, pulls the needle up, pierces the cloth, and pulls the needle down. Each sewn thread creates an indexical line of invested time, gesture, and rhythm.
As an artist I use this needle and thread to mine from my experiences as an immigrant to address issues of labor and identity politics. I try to unpack these complex labor and immigrant histories by engaging with people through long term projects utilizing varied social practices. At the root, is a research-based practice revolved around collecting materials: oral histories, data, commissioned artifacts, handmade objects, and remnants of handwork. I then invest in the materials with my own hands with time and labor in order to create large-scale installations and meticulously labor intensive works. However, being about invisible and Sisyphean labor, my works rarely suggest finality.
The needle is a political tool. It pierces and binds membranes together. The thread that it steers is tied off and remains while the needle continues to bind and mend. In my art practice, I use that needle to stitch together various histories and discourses revolving around the simple act of sewing. However, this act is anything but uncomplicated. The creation of each stitch engages sewing’s complex histories and politics of traditional, industrial, feminist, immigrant, and artist labor.
Community Sponsors and Partners
Everything has been material for scissors to shape is made possible by the support of community partners and the generosity of our donors and sponsors.
Presenting Season Sponsors
The Wing Donors
Additional Season Sponsors
Seattle Office of Arts & Culture
National Endowment for the Arts. Art Works.
Washington State Arts Commission
Washington State Arts Commission