Tactile: New Directions in Textile was a group exhibition on view from July 2 – August 1, 2021 featuring work inspired by the utilization of textile processes in the individual art practices of three Northeast Ohio artists and a New Yorkian outlier. Lizzie Essi, Nyki Fetterman, Megan Young, and Angela Guest employ techniques such as weaving, stitching, tufting, and punch-needle, while divulging from traditional textile media by including items like food packaging, discarded technology and ephemera, scrap fabric, and glitter.
Each artist in this show explores their relationship with material culture in a unique way. Essi and Fetterman both touch on ideas of consumerism; Essi does this through her use of discarded materials and items and Fetterman, through her depictions of food. Young playfully uses non-traditional media such as dish-sponges and soda containers in her work to explore the aesthetic properties of familiar, everyday objects found in domestic spaces. Guest meditates on the temporality and beauty of life by creating cloud-like forms made of fabric, and by attempting to piece back together scraps of fabric in order to form a whole body of fabric once more.
In the foreword of Vitamin T: Threads and Textiles in Contemporary Art, Jenelle Porter writes, “As boundaries between art and craft have blurred, artists have increasingly embraced these materials and methods.” While each artist investigates different textile processes, each process explored in Tactile: New Directions in Textile, is repetitive and haptic in nature Essi, Fetterman, Guest, and Young, have their roots in media traditionally associated with fine art disciplines, but each artist has been drawn to creating fiber-driven work because of its tactile properties.
Tactile: New Directions in Textile was originally curated for exhibition at Summit Artspace in Akron, OH by Lindsay Gryskewich, which was on view from January 15 – March 25, 2021. The original grouping of artists included Essi, Fetterman, and Young. For more information about the first showing of Tactile, and about Summit Artspace, please visit summitartspace.org.
Lizzie Essi is a multidisciplinary artist based in Cleveland (OH). In 2020, she graduated with a BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art with a dual-degree in Painting and Sculpture + Expanded Media. Working primarily within the mediums of painting and weaving, she brings together items from a myriad of sources to create unified structures of re-contextualized material. Through the process of revaluation and reuse, Essi aims to seize potentials of materials with little conventional use and little value as commodities. These are objects found and cast off in the everyday. In 2018 Essi received the Creativity Works Grant of the Fenn Education Fund of the Cleveland Foundation, leading a two-artist exhibition at The Good Goat Gallery, Lakewood, (OH) in 2019. Essi received the Sara Mattsson Anliot Award for Excellence in Weaving in 2019 and four times received the CIA Gund Family Scholarship, Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, (OH).
Nyki Fetterman is an artist and art educator living in Kent, OH. Nyki is a multi-media artist with a current focus on textiles and rug-making in-particular. Fetterman works to link craftwork traditionally viewed as feminine, to the current American political climate by way of humor and personal narrative. Nyki has exhibited work throughout Northeast Ohio, and her work has been featured in Under the Bridge Magazine, The Devil Strip, and the Akronist.
Angela Guest was raised in Austin, Texas and then ventured to Chicago, IL to get her undergraduate education in Art, Media, and Design at DePaul University. She is currently back in school at Buffalo State College, after years of wondering what to do when she grows up, in order to become an art teacher. In 2021, Guest had a solo show at The Crucible Arts Collective, and was part of the group show Last Year On Earth at the Rochester Contemporary Arts Center. Guest is constantly creating art with her trusty studio dog, Kira, always by her side.
Megan Young is a multi-disciplinary artist living and working in Cleveland (OH). Her work advocates for a joyful, often playful interaction with art and everyday objects. She primarily makes found object artworks, weavings, and pottery. She has exhibited work locally at galleries throughout Northeast Ohio including Summit Artspace, Bostwick Design Art Initiative, and SPACES Gallery. She is the recipient of the Fred Walker Writing Prize for excellence in writing, and the Gund Family Memorial Scholarship for academic and portfolio-based achievement. Young currently teaches visual art at the Beck Center for the Arts, Lakewood (OH), and the Orange Art Center, Pepper Pike (OH).
Exhibition photographs by Leah Trznadel.