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AbStranded: Fiber and Abstraction in Contemporary Art

AbStranded features ten contemporary American artists—Polly Apfelbaum, Paolo Arao, Sanford Biggers, Samantha Bittman, Julia Bland, Rachel B. Hayes, Elana Herzog, Anne Lindberg, Sheila Pepe, and Sarah Zapata—who use fiber-based materials to investigate the complex lineage of abstraction. Utilizing a diverse variety of methods, styles, and forms, these artists uncover and co-opt textile traditions and material sources in order to re-assert their validity and relevance in an increasingly global-industrial culture. A prominent use of the hand looms large—through knitting, weaving, quilting, and more—and suggests an alternative mode of communication within today’s digital society. Together, the works reveal how artists employ the language of abstraction to speak about the intertwined histories and politics of craft, race, and gender.

AbStranded is made possible through a grant from The Coby Foundation, Ltd. Additional support provided by Bonnie and Gary Grossman and Laurel Moranz and John MacAllister.

Rachel B. Hayes, Flurry, 2021, Nylon, polyethylene netting, and nylon thread

Samantha Bittman, Untitled, 2019, Acrylic on hand-woven textile, 30 x 24 inches, Courtesy of the artist

Julia Bland, Cut by Rivers, 2019, Hand-woven textile, hand-dyed linen and silk, canvas, wool and linen, threads, oil paint, 106 x 76 inches, Courtesy of the artist and Derek Eller Gallery

Paolo Arao, Measurements, 2020, sewn cotton, canvas, and acrylic, 33 x 27 x 1/4 inches, Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Cary Whittier

Sheila Pepe, Put Me Down Gently, 2014 Parachute cord, laces, yarn, and hardware Everson Museum of Art; Museum purchase, Deaccession Fund, 2018.13 © Sheila Pepe. Photo: David Broda

Exhibition Guide
Coming Soon!

Featured Artists Include:

Polly Apfelbaum
Paolo Arao
Sanford Biggers
Samantha Bittman
Julia Bland
Rachel B. Hayes
Elana Herzog
Anne Lindberg
Sheila Pepe
Sarah Zapata


Thank you to the Coby Foundation for their support of AbStranded.