Spotlight: In This Invigorating Boston Exhibition, 5 Contemporary Artists Take Textiles in Dazzling New Directions

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What You Need to Know: For its latest exhibition, Boston’s LaiSun Keane gallery brings together a group of contemporary artists working in textiles: Michael C. Thompson, Stacey Lee Webber, Mary Tooley Parker, and LoVid (this last is the name of artist duo Tali Hinkis and Kyle Lapidus). Needlework, the exhibition proposes, can serve as a metaphor for bridging divides. In its totality, “STITCH!” presents textiles as a wide-ranging, playful, and invigorating medium that contemporary artists are embracing without inhibitions. 

Installation view “STITCH!” 2022. Courtesy of LaiSun Keane.

Installation view “STITCH!” 2022. Courtesy of LaiSun Keane.

Why We Like It: Are textiles the new “it” medium in the art world? While curators and scholars have been fighting for decades to have quilts, embroidery, and other so-called “fabric art” incorporated into the conversation, it remains relatively rare for these mediums to be given the same spotlight as contemporary painting or sculpture. That, however, appears to be changing with hit museum exhibitions of Bisa Butler’s quilts and high-profile contemporary gallery shows. “STITCH!” follows in this vein. Artist Mary Tooley Parker’s hand-hooked rugs seem to offer the promises of domestic familiarity, even as the scenes she creates are discombobulating, with horizon lines jutting into one another. Meanwhile, LoVid creates works that juxtapose computer-generated visuals with handiwork, creating a visual tension between imagery and medium. 

Mary Tooley Parker, (2019). Courtesy of LaiSun Keane.

According to the Gallery: “The elevation of textile art in recent years to the realm of fine art is supported by the proliferation of this medium’s representation at major museums, art fairs, and art galleries. This exhibition is our contribution to this conversation by showcasing artists working in textile and fiber art whose works are diverse and provocative. The title ‘STITCH!’ refers to mending, joining, or bringing pieces together. More than describing an action in textile-related work, stitch in a metaphorical sense expresses our desire to see healing in the world we live in, hence making this exhibition an uplifting presentation for the eyes and the mind.”

Installation view “STITCH!” 2022. Courtesy of LaiSun Keane.

Installation view “STITCH!” 2022. Courtesy of LaiSun Keane.

“STITCH!” is on view at LaiSun Keane, Boston, through August 21, 2022.

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