Friday, April 3, 2009
Sweaterbones: Peggy Mersereau
Peggy Mersereau is an artist with a passion for beauty, skill and fibre. For Mersereau, the smallest possible footprint is a moral and aesthetic imperative. I recall our first meeting. She was concerned about the post-opening-party bottles which littered the back room of the gallery. Specifically, and politely, she was concerned that I might toss them in the garbage. She quietly gathered them up and took them home, for proper recycling.
Mersereau collects sweaters and shirts from thrift shops, friends, wherever. She seeks out garments which have not been made by children or exploited workers, and which are made of beautiful, pure, wools or silks. She has literally hundreds upon hundreds of these, stored and sorted by colour, pattern and fibre, in bins in her studio. These garments and carefully dissected, so that the large pieces, or "sweatermeats" are reclaimed. The sweatermeats are sliced and rolled to make beads, which themselves are re-constituted as sculptural pieces to be worn or displayed:
or recreated as non-functional vessels:
The remaining seams, cuffs, hems and plackets are the "sweaterbones": the structural exoskeletons of what was once a covering for the body.
In the gallery installation, these sweaterbones fly, lift and gather, like a flock of birds, bats or flying squirrels. A rocking chair invites a knitter. But how many more sweaters does the world really need?
The sweaterbones collect and fall into a heap in the corner.
These remnants become the sweaterballs: solid, through-to-the-core authentic. What Donald Judd is to steel, these little Mersereau sculptures are to fibre, only on a huggable, very human scale.
Silk shirts are cut into components for handmade lace collages:
"Sweaterbones": Peggy Mersereau
A.K. Collings Gallery
April 2 to 21. 2009