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exhibition: Helen Mirra: Waulked,
dates: 11 September – 25 October 2014
Peter Freeman, Inc, New York is pleased to present “Helen Mirra: Waulked,”. This is the gallery’s sixth solo exhibition of Mirra’s work, with three previous shows in New York and two at our Paris gallery.
In her newest works, each titled Waulked Triangle
, Mirra weaves with a continuous strand on a triangle loom. It is a slow and primitive method, and also physically engaging – the longest side of the triangle is seven feet, and the standing weaver moves from one edge to the other in alternately forming the warp and the weft. Mirra often intertwines the activity of walking with that of making art, and has in the past few years largely materialized work on foot, out-of-doors. Without walking being overtly involved in these new pieces (the waulking of the title is a term of Teutonic origin for the traditional hand-wrought process of finishing a weaving so that the fibers bind together), that activity remains at the root of all of her work; in as much as it is a way of thinking and seeing, it cultivates a somatic relationship with the world.
With a characteristic economy of means, and a deep engagement with the methods of making, Mirra transforms materials without unmooring them from their origins. For each weaving, Mirra uses wool from two different black sheep—rarities that are distinctive within white flocks, here they can barely be visibly determined one from another but for the delimiting colored strand drawn through each work. Three blacks appear - two from the individual sheep, one of their admixture. These are variations that reveal themselves gradually, beckoning extended regard. While each triangle is doubled over a cedar support, the simultaneity of the part and the whole unfolds. The mushroom-dyed border strand ties this work to other past works in which Mirra has explored boundaries and seams, including the slide projection Kestrel
(1997), also on view. In this piece, a long sequence of black-and-white photographs of high tree tops is projected onto a small square of wall painted blue, so that the tree line dividing ground and sky disappears and reappears, revealing and supplanting the monochrome.
Helen Mirra was born in Rochester, New York in 1970 and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Recent solo exhibitions include “Habitat de Transição” at Culturgest, Lisbon (2014); “Hourly Directional” at Radcliffe Center for Advanced Study, Cambridge and the MIT List Visual Arts Center (both 2014); “gehend (Field Recordings 1-3),” which was held at three venues: Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, and Bonner Kunstverein (2011-2012). Mirra has recently been the artist-in-residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (2013) and after that at the MacDowell Colony (2013), and has been awarded many grants and fellowships, including the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst Kunstlerprogramm), Berlin, IASPIS (International Artists Studio Program in Sweden), Stockholm, and Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue. The latter organization will mount their fifteenth anniversary exhibition this fall, in which Mirra will participate by walking from one place to another in New York City most days during the three-week period 15 September - 3 October, focused on developing the half-smile, as described by Thich Nhat Hanh. For more information: http://hmirra.net/halfsmiler
A reception for the artist will be held Thursday 11 September from 6 to 8 pm. For reproduction requests, interviews with the artist and general inquiries, please contact the gallery at 212-966-5154 or firstname.lastname@example.org.