These days weaving behind the wheel in New Mexico may result in a Breathalyzer test while weaving behind a loom could result in international recognition for artistry.
Chinese textile artist and curator Lin Lecheng and New Mexico weaver and curator Nancy Kozikowski are showing 40 of their drop-dead-gorgeous loom weavings, silk embroidery and drawings in their joint exhibit “Weaving Connects the World” at DSG Fine Art.
The Albuquerque installation is a beautifully executed boutique show of selections from their 150-piece exhibition of the same name that traveled throughout China earlier this year.
For the past 15 years Lecheng and Kozikowski have worked together to curate eight “From Lausanne to Beijing” international biennial exhibitions through the Academy of Art and Design at China’s Tsinghus University, where Lecheng is a professor and arts administrator.
The show is now the world’s largest fiber arts exhibition and draws submissions from hundreds of artists all over the globe.
Lecheng is fluent in the universal visual language of art and embraces inspiration from the pictorial nature of the Chinese written language. His understanding of European modernism, which was predominantly founded upon Asian, African and Native American optical aesthetics, as well as the tenets of global folk art, reveal the true architectonics of the human spirit through their structural depth and complexity.
Lecheng designs his preliminary paintings and drawings with a focus on point, line and plane, which are the fundamental elements of Chinese art. Lecheng’s imagery ranges from realistic renderings of rural and urban architecture to analytical abstract landscapes all of which are translated into weaving and embroidery.
Though many of his weavings are rendered in earth tones, Lecheng loves to work in black and white because of the superb clarity it offers. In a recent collaboration Lecheng spent hours lying in the snow near a frozen lake to photograph dying lotus blossoms.
After cleaning up and simplifying the images via a computer, Lecheng gave his images to gold medal-winning female artist Liang Xuefang, who created a series of luscious embroideries in black and white silk.
For centuries the lotus blossom has symbolized birth and enlightenment. The stunning images of dying lotuses in winter parallel the practice of Buddhist painters who used human skull cups to hold their paints.
The artists do so as a reminder of the impermanence of the human experience.
Like his Buddhist counterparts Lecheng is celebrating the terrible beauty of winter’s death as it leads to spring’s astounding rebirth in the endless cycle of life.
For more than 50 years Kozikowski has studied the origins of weaving motifs and the tenets of modernism. Along the way she discovered the backbeat of folk art traditions that have traveled like human DNA all over our world.
In this show Kozikowski reveals the depth of her research into global motifs with a dazzling array of colorful textiles and a gorgeous series of black-and-white drawings reminiscent of the late Keith Haring.
Among many stunning textiles are “Bronze Dragon” and “Nebula,” both of which exemplify Kozikowski’s evolving cross-cultural matrix of imagery and design.
Kozikowski and her husband, gallery owner John Cacciatore, divide their time between her studio just south of Beijing and their joint venture gallery and studio in Albuquerque.
When asked about communication difficulties between English and Chinese speakers, Kozikowski, who has lectured widely in China, replied, “There is no problem; we all speak weaving.”
This is a world-class, do-not-miss exhibition.