Milwaukee Artist Resource Network (MARN) challenged its emerging artists to work vertically, in Friday night’s exhibition Things on a String. Roughly 35 designers worked with lengths of string that varied greatly in size, some dangling from the ceiling to the floor, others at a length reasonable for guests to reach the objects attached to the ends.
Confined to a surface area allowing minimal application of medium, affixing items of personal import brought meaning to fibers that normally need weaving, braiding or some type of hook and needle action to give them form.
Pieces that hung varied in theme. Beverage bottle caps and pull tabs, discarded bike parts, fabric and trinket fetishes covered string to make collages from miscellaneous materials. Other presentations were more playful, with objects inviting patrons to touch.
Art Without Boarders quotes exhibit curator Becky Tesch as wanting to do Things on a String to give artists a chance to re-center themselves with a light-hearted exercise. However, fearlessly string also tied up spiritual beliefs, unexpected emotions and personal struggles. Here are snippets of what gallery goers saw.
Adam Horwitz craftily arranged oblong spheroid shaped eggs from very thing filament thread, so from afar they appeared to hover off of the ground. We all know were eggs belong, but upon closer examination, the shell plays host to the bird bedding.
In a shredded tire, two stuffed toys propped as if on a yard swing sit perilously. In place of a chain, a seat belt hoists Albin Erhart’s representation off of ground level. Let’s hope everyone was okay.
A face of Buddha in bronze, surrounded by black threads and weighted by a deep red tassel pulls a black string taught, it’s pinned to the ceiling. Angela Smith channels her meditative energy through a low impact movement process called Nia. Calling for balance Angela Smith offers a Buddhist talisman.
Curator, Becky Tesch featured 12 works in Things on a String, some of which focused primarily on rendering bike parts indistinguishable from their designed purpose by force and, in the case of a multiple bike chains, by illusion.
David Tesch’s “things” were on strings but didn’t last long, as warm air heated the colored ice molds, recessed from their cups that caught the drips of melt, as gravity returned them to their vessels as liquid.
Finding the key to anything happens partly by chance but also by persistence. An interesting game, invented by Jessica Poor and Rob Hoffman, pushed the patience of its avian role players. Key seekers strenuously tried to find the key that unlocked each of two birdhouses containing a hidden messages inside.
A dream catcher hovered above for those who took Judy Debrosky’s instructions to lay on the floor and rest my head on a pillow and gaze up.
Several older generation recording devices unwound provided enough length for Laura Gorzek to symbolically part with memories held in place by cassette tape magnetized film.
Knotted into macrame cords, bobby pins peeked out of Maggie Sasso’s string set, creating pincers for holding.
MARN’s Things on a String is kid friendly and on display until August 13.