exhibition
Maureen McNeil, Light + Material


 
Date
April 15 – May 28, 2023
Opening Reception
April 15, 2023
Artist
Maureen McNeil



exhibition Images
Click to Enlarge.

Maureen McNeil, Light + Material
Clover Reach 14, 2018, cloth, 41" x 125"

Maureen McNeil, Light + Material
Clover Reach 15, 2018, cloth, triptych 40" x 124"

Maureen McNeil, Light + Material
Clover Reach 13, 2018, cloth, 97" x 48"

Maureen McNeil, Light + Material
Esperanto 3, 2020, cloth, 73" x 111"

Maureen McNeil, Light + Material
Festooning 7, 2022, cloth, 103" x 107"

Maureen McNeil, Light + Material
Festooning 8, 2022, cloth, 103" x 107"

Maureen McNeil, Light + Material
Festooning 4, 2021, cloth, 52" x 51"

Maureen McNeil, Light + Material
Festooning 6, 2021, cloth, 106" x 107"

Maureen McNeil, Light + Material
Field 4, 2015, cloth, 46" x 52"

Maureen McNeil, Light + Material
Nakasendo 1, 2020, cloth, 105" x 108"

Maureen McNeil, Light + Material
Nakasendo 2, 2020, cloth, 92" x 108"

Maureen McNeil, Light + Material
Self-Portrait, 2010, cloth, 58" x 40"

Maureen McNeil, Light + Material
Torso 3, 2010, cloth, 50" x 54"

Maureen McNeil, Light + Material
Torso 7, 2011, cloth, 57" x 52



About the exhibition

Maureen McNeil
Light + Material
April 15 - May 28, 2023
Opening Reception & Artist’s Talk: Saturday, April 15

Artist's Statement:
I liken the meditative process of drawing, cutting, layering and hand-sewing textiles to the art of our ancestors who stitched stars together to create the constellations. Spurred by Walt Whitman’s quote—a leaf of grass is no less than journey-work of the stars—I explore light kindling and infusing the material world. Fabric becomes animated with layers of narrative. The tactile experience of sewing addresses human instincts of repair and survival, even as textiles invoke historic, economic and gender conventions that go back millennia.

The Pattern and Design movement of the seventies and eighties lit the way for me as a textile artist. By embracing the struggle rather than the repetition of perfection, I chalk abstract lines on a blank piece of cotton tacked to the wall. Like a line of dialog or a line of text, drawing creates a visual foundation. For me it usually entails standing on a bench or ladder and moving my whole arm. I gather a variety of materials, cut shapes and pin pieces together. A rhythm of problem solving emerges through experimentation: the process of taking apart and remaking. When my piece glitters so bright with pins I can no longer see it, I thread a needle. Cut and knot the thread. Push the needle beneath the fabric and pull it out the other side, all the while removing pins. A tactile drawing emerges with lines of thread that hold the materials fast. Finally, my eye follows the layers of color and texture. I see this as the goal: an emotional merging and crossing of lines. Translucent fibers allow penetration of the layers and perceptions sharpen the reflectance and irregularities of the material. 

On being a Red Hook artist in the 1980s:
In 1981, when my boyfriend and I bought a 20 x 20 wood frame house in Red Hook, Brooklyn, Liberty was considered the patron Saint by retired longshoremen. Taps from Governor’s Island wafted across Buttermilk Channel.  Stories, like ships, came in with the tide. Stories about the Civil War warehouses; the abandoned sugar factory; the squatter washing his laundry in the open fire hydrant; and the old bachelors at Jimmy’s shoe and vegetable store, jumping as if fathers for each stray pup born. The artists and carpenters and old-timers celebrated, protested, mourned and hung out together because Red Hook was home.