SWISH™ /// ORNAMENT + GRIME>>> (2014)
SOFA GALLERY (AUSTIN, TEXAS)
April 11th, 2014 through April 27th, 2014
Lauren Klotzman’s exhibition SWISH™ /// ORNAMENT + GRIME>>> consists of a series of abstract “needlepoint paintings” which inquire into histories of screen technology and the evolution of contemporary visual culture, being inherently of a moment which Hal Foster’s “Design and Crime” (a post-modern revisiting of Adolf Loos’ “Ornament and Crime”) characterized as the “neo-Art Nouveau world of total design and Internet plenitude.” Products of intrinsically “ornamental” craft practices which simultaneously operate within a logical grid-system, these embroidered canvases echo the visual arrays of the contemporary screen in a manner which points toward the fact of textile history being innately intertwined with computing history (e.g. Charles Babbage and the Jacquard Loom, the pixel’s mimesis of stitched picture-formation). As such, they additionally incorporate visual motifs/techniques which resonate with key moments in technological proliferation: the works are characterized by an “all-over-ness” which is not only derived from the gestures of modernist painting, but also hearkens to various design moments since the 1960’s (e.g. the psychedelic recuperation of Bargello, the tessellating patterns of Memphis, the proliferation of the Nike “Swoosh™”). However, these are not designerly objects, but are are constructed from an un-repeatable and highly-individual process of chance operations conducted by the body: the craftsperson is presented with a graphic “score” across a gridded surface which is inherently imperfect; correspondingly, the performative act of choosing how to “render” with the hand’s stitch is at once fundamentally human and computational/mechanical. The works seem to highlight, but not resolve these tensions between human and computer, antique and contemporary, textile and screen, similitudes and dissonances.