String Theory, An Exhibit of Studio Montclair’s Incubator Program, Opens October 4

Zachary Smith, And I Hallucinated That the Too Large Moon Was a Fake,
Being Suspended in the Sky by Human Means, 2018, fiber, 12 x 32”
In “String Theory,” the Studio Montclair Incubator at Academy Square Galleries presents work by three local artists, Zachary Smith, Emma Mierop, and Yana Rodin, whose wildly different aesthetics all connect through the non-traditional medium of yarn and thread to articulate deep associations with both personal and cultural ritual traditions.

Zachary Smith’s painstakingly detailed hand-embroidery takes the viewer along with the artist in his own personal journey to self-realization and sobriety. The meticulous physical act of creating the artwork is both meditative and punishingly detailed. His knots and lines are about the process of creating as an outlet for energies being reigned in and released. The resulting pieces, often on found fabric, read like tight, visual haikus; brief compositions filled with carefully chosen content.

Emma Mierop’s work presents a fascinating counterpoint to Smith’s. Her antiquarian, carnivalesque characters offer a sense of whimsy, revealing a slightly eerie, fantastical dimension all her own. Many of her characters are masked, hinting at a sort of alter ego. Others fuse animals and celestial detail. As opposed to Smith’s hand-stitching, Mierop almost exclusively machine stitches her pieces, making the process more akin to drawing, with thread and machine her medium.

Emma Mierop, Santos Twins, mixed media on linen, 2018, 10 x 12″

Yana Rodin leaps from traditional use of thread and yarn, manipulating fibers into largescale hanging installations. Pulling from her Russian lineage, Rodin’s work comments on traditional gender roles, referring to women knitting and sewing. Her brightly-colored geometric sculptures—although at first glance seemingly more related to minimalist abstraction—are inspired by the trajectory of old-world skills and handicraft being replaced and obliterated by mass production and technology.

Yana Rodin, Evanescent Aquatica, 2018, acrylic on polyester nylon

Each artist employs the same media—thread and string—to extremely different ends, yet all emphasize material as the driving force. Unlike with pen, pencil, or paint; yarn and thread hold a feminine association, traditionally considered to be more of a tool for handicraft and domestic use, rather than an emotionally or psychologically transformative medium. Mierop, Smith, and Rodin all elevate the platform to create work akin to tangible journal entries, simultaneously linking each artist to the past, while also pushing their own narratives forward.

Opening Reception: Thursday, October 4, 6-8pm
Exhibition Dates: October 4-November 29, 2018

Gallery: Academy Square Galleries, 33 Plymouth Street, Montclair, NJ 07042
Gallery Hours: Monday to Friday 7am-7pm
Opening Reception: Thursday, October 4, 6-8pm

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