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Exhibit Visit: “Your Growth” by Madeline Larson

weavingI noticed an article about Madeline Larson’s weaving last year, when she exhibited her work at MidModMen+friends,”Future heirlooms: what are you passing forward to the next generations?” Someone who combines saturated colors in wild pattern bands? A weaver after my own heart.

Yesterday I visited her new exhibit, three large works in the gallery at Silverwood Park in St. Anthony under the theme “Your Growth.” Her previous tightly woven geometric bands now include an added element of DE-construction.  The bright patterns are interrupted by escaping yarn released from the warp, cascading in wooly arcs. They were woven as Madeline dealt with issues of physical recovery.  A sign reads, in part: “Through this work, Larson found comfort and support in the process as she experienced discomfort in her body and ultimately, growth.”

“Disillusion” Woven hand dyed wool, polyester cotton warp

One piece is named “Vomit,” but I found the connotation unfounded–the colors are too exuberant and lively.  It seems happier that the title suggests.

“Vomit” Woven hand dyed wool, cotton polyester warp
“Defining” Woven hand dyed wool, polyester cotton warp

The crazy exploding yarn makes you want to examine the pieces from all angles.

Her pieces reminded me of an often-highlighted artist, Faig Ahmed, who has a series of oriental-style rugs that suddenly drip to the floor or have odd permutations.  It’s not the same in technique, as Ahmed’s “rugs” are completely woven, but there is a similarity in depicting an unexpected, imperfect rug.

From the artist’s website, faigahmed.com. “Liquid. Dimensions: 466 x 266, Release date: 2014, Material: Handmade Woolen Carpet”

Her pieces also reminded me of old Norwegian rugs discovered in the wheel wells of tractors or used as dog bed cushions or horse blankets, ones that were rescued as new, appreciative audiences recognized interesting weave structures and patterns. Those pieces were often in poor repair, with warp threads missing and yarn loose and hanging.  Madeline Larson’s “New Growth” pieces bring to mind these old traditional weavings that were used to the point of dilapidation, to the point when the warp threads gave way–but Larson uses missing warps as purposeful design.

This isn’t the best example, but if you look closely you will see many loose warp threads in this worn saddle blanket. This image is a detail from a photo in ÅKLE I SOGN OG FJORDANE: FRÅ SENG TIL VEGG (By Eva Ramstad, published by Sogn og Fjordane Husflidslag, 2005)

Madeline Larson’s exhibit will be at the Silverwood Park Gallery through July 31, 2018.  I recommend a visit, as photos can’t do justice to the impact of the size and color of her works. Plan to take a walk, too; it was raining when I visited, but it looks like the park has lovely walking paths.

Madeline Larson’s Instagram is mlarsonweaveart. See also “Fiber artist Madeline Larson featured in inaugural “Future Heirlooms” showcase.”

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