Solo exhibition with fiber artist Windy Chien – minimalist, monochromatic rope sculptures
* July 29 - September 14
[Pictured: Circuit Board, 2021, Navy Sunbrella cordage, 24k gold, Japanese thread, walnut, 48 x 72 in.]
Sarah Shepard Gallery is pleased to present its first solo exhibition with contemporary fiber-based artist Windy Chien. The exhibition is entitled Journey of the Line, a reference to using one continuous rope and following it to the conclusion of its journey.
Featuring pieces from Chien’s various series including Circuit Board, Hitching Post, Diamond Ring, and Knot Installation, she is also introducing a new collaboration with East Bay artist Melissa Bolger. Chien’s practice melds art and design, craft and concept, function and aesthetic. While the output is often beautiful, this quality is intended to draw the viewer in and provoke awareness of the concepts behind the visual harmony: a deeper clarity of looking.
Chien makes sculpture and site-specific installations that elevate the vernacular forms of knots to inspire awe and understanding. An avid sailer, Chien was drawn to their functionality, cultural significance, and aesthetic value. Knots manifest tension and show forces working in harmony and in opposition. In 2016, Chien gave herself an assignment to learn a new knot —out of the almost 4,000 documented— every day for one year, creating the book, The Year of Knots. She came to recognize knotting as a universal language spoken across oceans, centuries, genders, and occupations. When Chien is in her studio today she often draws on her library of historic sailing books for inspiration.
Drawing from The Year of Knots as her ongoing palette, her bodies of work explore a singular, exquisite knot in search of its ultimate expressive potential. The finished works are minimalist, monochromatic rope sculptures that utilize pattern, repetition, and monumental scale to emphasize the poetry of the line. She uses composition and technique to explore the tension between contrasting ideas.
In her iconic Circuit Boards series, the composition is inspired by computer circuit boards and the New York transit map designed by Massimo Vignelli - each of these sources speaking to energy flow and the power of linear design. Chien doesn’t lose sight of the gendered associations of weaving as “women’s work”- the skills of macrame, passementerie, weaving - and in the case of Circuit Boards, joins that with the masculine influences behind the composition. On working with rope, Chien has said she likes, “the notion of using the line to create volume and shapes in space, without weight.”
Additional time info:
Gallery Hours: Tue-Sat, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm, or by appointment