Restoration in the upstairs gallery is guest curated by Rufus Cohen, who brings together the work of ten artists from across the country who have worked as behind-the-scenes restorers of ancient and antique textile art.
For some of these artists, their art is an extension of the techniques of restoration. For example, Laura Center cards, spins and weaves reproductions of children’s drawings using Navajo Rug restoration techniques. For some, the concept of restoration-as-healing guides their conceptual work. Ilona Pachler composes with damaged and distressed fabric, bandaged and mounted to stretchers much as she would mount an ancient Andean fabric. In many cases, the aesthetic power of the antique textiles guides the artist’s exploration of color, composition and structure — such as in Bojana Leznicki’s modernist weavings. Some are immersed in the traditions they have preserved, such as Diné/Navajo rug weaver Jesse Henio; while others create new work that is a loose reflection of their restoration work, such as the copper-wire lacework by Kristal Hale.
As an exhibition, Restoration poses many questions: What is the connection between the preservation of ancient art and the creation of new artwork? In what ways do these artists of today become apprentices to the artists of the past? What is the relationship of maintenance to innovation? Is the restorer’s labor valued differently when they are creating their own work?
Laura Center (New Mexico), Frank Connet (Illinois) , Norma Cross (New Mexico) , Kristal Hale (California) , Jessie Hennio (New Mexico), Joyce Hulbert (California) , Bojana Leznicki (New Jersey), Ilona Pachler (New Mexico) , Kayla Paul (New Mexico) and Chris Rolick (California)