“Lace in Translation” - Description and Reaction Paper
Lace in Translation is an exhibition currently being held at The Design Center at Philadelphia University. The exhibition is comprised of one designer, one design studio and one artist. The artists were asked to give their interpretation of lace. The Design Center at Philadelphia University has a collection of historic lace from the Quaker Lace Company that the artists drew inspiration from.
Though the artists were asked to interpret the same item, lace, the results are drastically different. The first piece that is encountered at the exhibition is an outdoor chain link fence, called “Lace Fence”, 2009, designed by Demakersvan. From afar, the fence appears to be a very delicate lace pattern strewn on top of the chain link fence. However, upon closer observation, the actual areas of the fence that looks like lace are also made of the same wire as the chain links areas. The intricate wrappings of the wire are deceiving on many levels, creating something both light and airy as well as sturdy and strong.
Moving inside the exhibition, the contrast is drastic from the fence outside. The first room is comprised of four walls of solid black lace. One panel is hung in front of a window, allowing the light to filter through the black lace, creating a spectacle of pattern against the light from outdoors. In the center of the room is a sofa made from what appears to be rope used for rock climbing, all in black and done using various knotting techniques. Surrounding the sofa are dressed made in black lace.
Following the room of black, there is a room of light, with light sculptures made of natural fibers hanging from the ceiling. The effect of the night and day rooms is lovely. The textures in this room are stunning, with yet again another screen of lace hanging in front of a large window. This lace however, is not traditional. It is made of natural fibers loosely woven together in lace-like patterns.
Outside in the courtyard is a large piece using an oil barrel created by Cal Lane. She use has used welding techniques to cut lace patterns in the barrel. The effect is both delicate and rustic. As the barrel is exposed to the elements, rust has built up on the surface. It is a treatment that makes the piece look age and imperfect, like old lace.
In all, I found this exhibition to be very well done. The artists’ interpretations of lace were intriguing and diverse. The mind is an incredible thing. It takes us each in such different direction, even when we are asked the same question. Of all the pieces I felt the strongest connection to the welded oil barrel by Cal Lane. The texture of the metal and the pattern itself was a juxtaposition that I really enjoyed. The rusting and allowing the piece to be imperfect was a choice I can also identify with, as well. The natural elements of material are something that I try to manipulate and use to my benefit in my own work, as well.