A New Aesthetic:
Reflective Fabric Sculpture
|.Installation view at the Swan Coach House Gallery
showing Junco Sato Pollack's works: from left, Origami
#4, 2000, sublimation and folds on polyester organza,
18 feet by 36 inches; Origami Cubes, 2000, sublimation,
heat crimping, lamination, and stitches on polyester organza,
each 18 by 18 by 18 inches; Sky/Clouds/Wind, 2000,
devoré, sublimation, shibori, and heat crimping on metallic
polyester, 18 feet by 50 inches; Kesa #6: Samskaras,
2000, sublimation on polyester organza, 97 by 54 inches;
Sky/Clouds, 1999, devoré, sublimation, and shibori
on metallic polyester, 15 feet by 50 inches.
Two extraordinary fiber artists of international acclaim
came together to present their work in "A New Aesthetic: Reflective
Fabric Sculpture by Junichi Arai & Junco Sato Pollack."
The exhibition, curated by Marianne B. Lambert, ran from August
23 to September 30, 2000, at the Swan Coach House Gallery
Considered one of the masters in contemporary
textile art, Junichi Arai has had a profound influence on
modern fiber art, as well as on techniques for weaving with
metallic fibers. He is both mentor and colleague to Junco
Sato Pollack. Both artists are pioneers in exploring and applying
the latest in technology to manipulate and color fabric. They
meld old and new methods, old handwoven fabrics with synthetically
produced materials, and in doing so, create works with spirit
and life. The small exhibition of stunning sculptural pieces
was a showcase of their efforts--all shimmering light and
The intimacy of the Swan Coach House Gallery allowed
the viewer to move among the pieces, several draped from ceiling
to floor. So airy are the works that they swayed even in the
seemingly imperceptible current created by a person's passing
by. Several pieces hung near vents, and they rippled in the
Both artists are technically superb. A common
element in the works of the two Japanese artists was their
method of using a heat transfer process for coloring synthetic
and metallic fabrics. The pieces in "A New Aesthetic" displayed
a range of possibilities for sculptural creations using this
method. Arai presented intense, dramatic works--dark and shot
with silver, made three-dimensional through a heat process.
He also presented large sculpted, brilliantly
colored, and glowing hangings, such as Red/Gold/Black and
Shibori Crincle Wave, a ceiling-to-floor piece in which it
seemed glistening pale liquid spilled down a richly textured,
purple shadowed curtain--like moonlight on a purple sea. His
work bursts with drama and energy. He has said that "ingenuity,
creative spirit, and passion" must guide creative efforts
and that an artist "must use available technology--in no way
different from the way people did in the past."
|Junichi Arai, Akamuru red/gold/black (detail),
1982; poly-amid coated polyester and wool/nylon; vacuum
deposition, dye sublimation, shibori, devoré, acid dyeing;
10.5 feet by 34 inches.
Junco Sato Pollack's work is calm and meditative yet speaks
with a quiet energy. She, too, presented large gossamer hangings.
Her Sky/Clouds/Wind of polyester and organza, is a pale ephemeral
piece that allows the viewer to find images in its film-thin
Pollack's "origami" hangings are fired with intense
color and intricate design. "My art takes its shape in fabric,
light, and shadow," she comments. She says she begins a work
with "an intimate hand-manipulation of the fabric: creasing,
binding, pressing, shaping, pinning, and stitching," achieving
a quiet meditation through the repetitive motion "while relying
on a spontaneous and serendipitous articulation." Her origami
works included hangings as well as three-dimensional cubes.
Also in the exhibition were several of Pollack's
"kesa"; works, based on the form of Buddhist monks' ceremonial
stoles. She collects used fabrics, cleans and dyes them with
plants, cuts them apart, and sews them back together in a
vertical and horizontal composition. They are symbolic of
"the wisdom of the human civilization that taught ways to
cultivate and to live in harmonious accordance with nature,"
Junichi Arai began as a weaver in his family's
kimono and obi weaving factory in Kiryu, Japan. He lives and
works in Japan. Junco Sato Pollack now lives in Atlanta and
is an associate professor of art at Georgia State University.
The artists are currently collaborating on a large-scale metallic
sculpture installation for the River Center for the Performing
Arts in Columbus, Georgia.
- Judith Schonbak
Judith Schonbak is a freelance writer in Atlanta.
She covers the arts and business for print, online, and television