Artist: Caryn Aasness
Exhibition: TO CALL IT CUTE IS TO MISUNDERSTAND
Gallery: Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery
This week at the Merlino Gallery, I experienced Caryn Aasness exhibition entitled “TO CALL IT CUTE IS TO MISUNDERSTAND.” Ms. Aasness is an undergrad senior, working toward her BFA in Fibers. Her exhibition is all about the fabric she put a lot of hard work into making. After graduation, she hopes to work with designing wallpapers and textiles.
Ms. Aasness entire exhibition is composed of numerous quilt-like pieces that have a hidden message. The hidden message can be found in the grid paper found next to each quilt and on the actual art piece. In order to find the hidden message on the art piece, you need to read the colored columns vertically rather than horizontally because each quilt has different colored threads and each color represents a different letter that creates a column. The main piece of the artwork is the only piece that contains a message that can be read without decoding and the message contains the title of the artwork. Lastly, the colors on each quilt are very vibrant and they have a very fall vibe to them.
According to Ms. Aasness, she uses the art pieces she creates as her platform to question/challenge the societal structures in America. Through her art, she encourages the audience to look at her art differently and to look for the hidden messages. She wants her audience to know that her art is more than just “cute”, she wants us to find what really matters in her art pieces which are the hidden messages. The idea of showing her thoughts on societal structures in America by weaving them into the fabric and creating patterns and combinations to figure out the message redesigns social norms.
At first, Ms. Aasness art piece didn’t impress me that much because I thought it was just her showing off a fall collection of scarfs or fabric that she created. I mean don’t get me wrong, creating a scarf or anything from scratch is quite impressive but I don’t find that much value in it. However, after reading the artist statement, I found out that I was very wrong. These “scarfs” that I thought she made are actually more like quilts and literally hide messages within them. I loved how the messages weren’t read in your standard left to right but actually read from top to bottom. Ms. Aasness’s work is very impressive and I loved how it the encourages the audience to engage/connect more to her artwork.