Saturday, March 5, 2016

What exactly is a digital loom?

Where: Sackler Gallery

When: through June 5, 2016

One of the differences between the Sackler and the Freer is that the Sackler exhibits the works of contemporary Asian artists.  One of the ways in which it does this is through a series called "Perspectives."  The works are on display in the pavilion, which is the main entryway, and I usually see them when I'm at the Sackler for something else.

The current display is a work by Lara Baladi, who is an Egyptian-Lebanese artist, born in 1969.  She's taken photographic images, some her own work, others she has found and made them into a photographic collage.  In 2007, these were transferred to a cloth, made of wool and cotton, via a digital loom.  I'd love to know what a digital loom is exactly, but the wall notes offered no explanation.

The work is entitled "Oum el Donia" which translates as "Mother of the World," a common name for the country of Egypt.  You get the sense, looking at this piece, of sand and water or earth and sky.  A guard, seeing me looking at the work, told me the blue color comprising the top half of the fabric was painted on by hand, literally by hand, not using a brush.  What an enormous job!

Verdict: This is a strange and interesting piece - give it a look the next time you're at the Sackler.

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