Jessica Mein: Most Paintings Start Life as Fabric

THE DAILY PIC: At Simon Preston, Mein's abstractions don't hide the fact that a canvas is made from ... canvas.

THE DAILY PIC (#1640): Jessica Mein’s solo show of abstractions, at Simon Preston Gallery in New York, triggered a new thought in me: It suddenly occurred to me that the first sophisticated abstract works that most of us see, as children, are textiles.

Mein’s works got me thinking along those lines because she makes the “textility” (sorry for the coinage) of her paintings – and of most paintings – more explicit than other artists do. She pulls threads out of her canvases so that their woven nature becomes unavoidably present. (My Pic is a closeup on maybe a tenth of one piece, to make its textures visible; see below for the whole thing, titled desvio quinze.)

Agnes Martin comes to mind – but suddenly she’s a maker of gorgeously marked stretched cloths.

Anni Albers comes to mind, too, as a rare modernist who admitted that fabric was were it’s at.

(Images courtesy the artist and Simon Preston Gallery, New York)


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