Art Galleries

Flatlanders Art Galleries proudly presents Threadlines, the solo exhibition of fabric artist Dolores S. Slowinski. This exhibit is free of charge and will be open to the public from January 18ththrough March 8th, 2014. A reception is planned for Sunday, January 26th  from 2:00 to 4:00 pm and will include refreshments.

Needle, thread, and paper inspire me.

In 2009 I began hand-stitching card stock, approximately 5" x 7", free hand, without any pre-conceived ideas. It was like playing with lacing cards and connect-the-dot puzzles simultaneously: an intoxicating epiphany that made me laugh out loud and fired my imagination. I was drawing with thread rather than pencil or pen! The lines could be applied freely, quickly, without forethought, smudging or spilling. The results were immediate and required no additional finishing. Each piece was a spark that ignited another idea until it became a conflagration of over 135 works by the end of 2011. I've since added more fuel to the fire by switching to 22" x 30" sheets of 150 Ib. Arches, hot press, watercolor paper.

I start by making large holes in the paper with an industrial sewing machine; intuitively outlining areas as I move the paper under the presser foot. Infill drawing is done by hand with a needle and thread. I never know what will appear when I begin. But I know if I just watch and work, something will appear and I will understand the direction it is taking. Fiber artist llze Aviks calls this "working mindlessly" and credits it with revealing the profound. Artist Mary Frank talks about getting out of the way so that the work can create itself. I call it working, period. Work begets work. The more I give myself up to the work, the more it kindles my imagination.

I do what I do because needle and thread feel most comfortable to me in making marks. Pulling a thread taut, I am reminded of Fred Sandback who defined planes by outlining them with yarn and engaged the space in an entire room. I prefer to stretch thread against paper to see a crisp, sharp line or to layer it to blend colors and build up a relief with intentional marks. I like to flip the paper over to look at the unintentional marks on the back, the ones I am making without even seeing them. Sometimes I work to mix intentional and unintentional marks on the same side. I also like the contrast of the coarse machine perforation with the delicacy of hand-stitching; the loud clashing industrial process with the silence of hand work. I capture the viewer's attention not only to the visible, but also to the tactile while arousing curiosity about the unseen. I raise questions about drawing/stitching, intentional/unintentional, coarse/delicate, loud/quiet, touching/not touching, near/far, and seen/unseen.

I create an unexpected vocabulary for art made in Detroit using thread and paper in a way that combines an industrial process with hand work both of which reflect not only the history of manufacturing in Detroit from carriage building to automobile manufacturing but also my personal history as the granddaughter of a Polish immigrant shoemaker.