Lace is the element weaving together the pieces in “Ties That Bind,” but visitors won’t find much of it in the new exhibit. They will, however, see zip ties comprising a piece called “Mostly Cloudy” and sculptures made of fishing lines from artist Sui Park, as well as paintings by Rebecca Rutstein and symmetrical (also lace-free) work by Katie Shaw.
Assistant Gallery Director Erika Diamond curated “Ties That Bind,” which features eight artists and is set to open with a reception at 3 p.m. Sunday June 24th in the Fowler-Kellogg Art Center. Diamond, in her fifth year at Chautauqua, is “intimately acquainted” with the building.
“It’s almost like decorating your living room,” she said.
A textile artist herself, Diamond wanted to piece together a show about lace. Naturally, she assumed she would be working with lace artists. But during her research, she found that there were other ways to represent the material rather than just using lace itself.
“I was seeing the idea of lace embodied by a lot of different kinds of artwork,” Diamond said. “Whether it was through patterns in some of the paintings, or certain work that has a sort of intricacy, or the way that they’re sort of pushing the bound- aries of their materials.”
The idea of an exhibit centered around lace first sparked Diamond’s interest while she was at a weaving residence in Milwaukee. Everything about the material interested her — more specifically, how it “defines the edges of things” (such as cuffs and collars) and its connections, historically, to femininity.
“People think of it as delicate and fragile, but I think a lot of the work in this show kind of plays with that idea,” Diamond said. “Lace is actually completely structurally sound. Just because it’s full of holes doesn’t mean it’s not a strong, durable type of material or object.
” On top of giving people “a taste of something new,” Diamond said she is most excited for visitors to “really investigate what the things are made out of.”
“I think all the works have something to offer, whether it’s their playfulness or just their technique,” Diamond said. She also hopes audiences will take away the metaphor of personal connections provided by the exhibit’s line-oriented artwork, and said she’s proud of the “harmony” she feels the space generates.
“Curating is almost like an opportunity to say, ‘Well, if I could make other work, this is what I would like to show people,’ ” Diamond said. “It’s almost an opportunity to say, ‘Well, if I were a painter, I would paint this, or if I worked with fishing line, maybe this is what I’d find beautiful.’
” In the weeks before the opening of “Ties That Bind,” groups from nearby elementary and middle schools toured the exhibit. Diamond said she tried to get the message across to students that, while admiring others’ work, they should remember that “it’s OK for other people to have gotten there first.”
“There’s a whole world of us out there, making things, and I think the key is to be supportive of that and excited about what other people are making too,” she said.
“I think when you have the opportunity to curate, you have the chance to step back and not think about your own work and celebrate what other people are doing. I think that’s important.”