May 142024

A large heart hangs in netting below the skeleton of a mysterious creature in one of Joy Curtis’s sculptures for Night Hike and Ocean Grandma at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery.  As you walk around the sculptures you are invited to invent the story behind them. Titles like Ocean Grandma, Sympathetic/ Parasympathetic, and Future Organs, and Night Hike (Epiphytes) provide clues.

Throughout the run of the exhibition, performers activated several of the smaller wearable sculptures. These performances are currently on view on the  gallery’s website and Instagram.

From the press release-

Joy Curtis’s new show of immersive textile sculptures takes on a folkloric quality, addressing ideas of evolution, environmental history, continuity, and change. Curtis sculpts with fabrics dyed to align with multiple historical traditions. These soft materials are quilted and sewn onto wire armatures, assembled to imply animal and plant forms, yet veering into abstraction.

Roots, vertebrae, leaves, and organs drape from figurative or animaloid fabric structures, creating canopies with an ambiguous narrative. Curtis hand-dyes her cloth using techniques inspired by Nigerian (Yoruba) Adire and Japanese Shibori processes, employing natural hues such as amber, ochre, iron, and indigo. Some pieces incorporate synthetic elements, such as reflective discs sewn into the works, causing visual sparks or glimmers amidst the more subdued textiles. The mixture of materials creates rich textures, as well as both reflective and absorbent variations in the light.

Some sculptures are large and hang dramatically from the ceiling, allowing the viewer to walk underneath and between them. A series of smaller works hang on the walls, actively wearable as garments. When dressed on individuals, these sculptures transform the wearer into an extension of Curtis’s formal style.