Kirsi Peltomäki, assistant professor of art history, department of art, Oregon State University, wrote the following about the artist in her article, “Jiseon Lee Isbara: Piecing Fabric and Life with Thread and Order” on the Call + Response website, supported by the Museum of Contemporary Craft:
“Hand-sewing, whether to join fabric pieces together or make a mark on them by embroidery, remains at the center of Jiseon Lee Isbara’s artistic practice, although she freely makes use of a sewing machine as well, and, on occasion, includes other techniques such as inkjet printing on fabric. A fiber-based artist by training and profession, the material and conceptual dimensions of Lee Isbara’s works simultaneously resonate with contemporary sculpture, particularly work by Eva Hesse and Mona Hatoum, and with the Korean textile tradition of pojagi wrapping cloths. Lee Isbara’s recent work involves pieced fabric stitched into patchwork forms and displayed in three-dimensional installations or two-dimensional wall arrangements. In any configuration, Lee Isbara’s work constitutes mental maps, visualizing territories that are coded and decoded in languages at once familiar and uncharted.”
More images of her recent work can be seen on her website. If you’re in the area, Don’t miss her talk!
For this week’s library pick, we have selected a title that showcases the work of Isbara’s contemporary, Darrel Morris, who is also pushing the limits of hand sewn embroidery. Darrel Morris edited by Alison Ferris. It’s part of a series put out by Telos called the Portfolio Collection, “the British publishing venture dedicated to documenting contemporary fiber art [and] prominent textile artists around the world” (from here).
In Alison Ferris’ foreword about Morris, she describes his embroidered portraitures as “poignant miniatures” that “addresses masculinity from a queer perspective and, by extension, comes to grip with matters such as shame and humiliation, melancholy and mourning, and the abuse of power as they are experience every day.” She continues that his embroidered images “rendered like characters in comic strips – result in powerful and humorous, if often forlorn, narratives” (6). These narratives not only express the technical prowess of the artist but particularly the challenges of expression when appropriating other forms of depiction (e.g., comic strips) and translating them into the material thread and cloth and the (visual and physical) vocabulary of fiber art. The result is fantastic. And, as Bob Hicks, wrote in an article for the Oregonian, Morris’s work will astonish the viewer for its technical skill but especially for its “emotional insight” (here). Check it out!