Lesley Kice: Rearrangements
A "surface" always argues with space, incorporating or creating
or adopting some form of dimensionality. Lesley Kice's "Rearrangements"
argues with space in intriguing ways, with beautiful results.
The show took place at Light Box Gallery in Kansas City, Missouri,
April 20-May 26.
|Installation view. On wall: Mokume-positive
(foreground) and Internal Mokume back). Suspended
in middle of gallery: Boxes.
The earliest piece in the show, Boxes,
argues with space by creating a solid form out of organza.
Conceptually, the issue of scale emerges through the work's
evocation of the Menger sponge, the three-dimensional fractal
form with an infinite surface area but zero volume. More
viscerally, the piece pits apparent flimsiness against actual
strength, and the flimsiness of the component parts against
the stability of the whole. In doing so, it gives a key
to the whole show, which manages throughout to unite the
ethereal and the earthy.
The show's visual and conceptual axis is a group of three
works made simultaneously and from a single piece of fabric,
entitled Mokume-positive, Internal Mokume, and
Mokume-negative. Imagine one stretch of silk, from
which irregular rings with serrated edges have been cut by
burning. The original piece of silk out of which the rings
were cut (or in other words, the part of the material outside
of the rings) constitutes Mokume-negative. The rings
themselves, stitched together in overlapping patterns, compose
Mokume-positive. The small circles that were the interior
of the rings (the donut holes), stitched together in various
shapes and hung by threads in vertical rows, become Internal
Mokume. Together, the three works argue with space by
multiplication: they make three surfaces out of one. Individually,
Mokume-negative pursues depth by reproducing itself
as shadows, Mokume-positive pursues depth by layering,
and Internal Mokume pursues depth by folding, like
The pattern created by the overlapping rings in Mokume-positive
then becomes the basis for Burnout Mokume and Holey
Mokume, each of which achieves depth by layering. In Burnout
Mokume, the rings pattern appears in its original size on
one panel and expanded on two others. The repetition of the
basic pattern in different sizes on thick fabric and sheer fabric
creates another pattern of its own. Similarly, in Holey Mokume,
the pattern silk-screened on the back panel is visible through
holes burned on the front panel.
|Mokume-positive (detail); silk; shibori, burning,
As with any body of work, the pieces are not of perfectly
even quality. Buchi Lace, the least successful piece,
seems limp by comparison with the others and hangs in a location
that does not emphasize its shadows as well as some of the
other pieces emphasize theirs. One must work hard to find
weaknesses, though, in a show that is simultaneously coherent
and various, that is replete with beautiful works, and that
at its highest moments, especially in the exquisite Mokume-positive,
is moving and memorable.
"Rearrangements," the first major solo show by Lesley Kice,
introduces an extraordinary young talent with an already complex
vision, informed by knowledge of and connection to Japanese
culture, and possessed of a prodigious level of craft. By simple
techniques that call forth meditative patience through painstaking
repetition, and by attention to the whole piece, including its
shadows and movements, she has created a set of works that sustain
attention through complex explorations of dimensionality, but
only after attracting attention with their simple beauty.
|Folded Buchi (detail); silk; shibori, burning, stitching.
Photos: M Studios.
--H. L. Hix
H. L. Hix is the director of the School of
Liberal Arts at Kansas City Art Insitute in Kansas City, Missouri.
All photos: M Studios
Boxes, detail; silk; tea stained, burnt, folded, stitched.
Burnout Mokume; silk, cotton; dyed, stitched.
Holey Mokume; silk; dyed, burnt holes.
Installation view showing Buchi Lace