Marlborough is pleased to present Still Water, Circling Palms a solo exhibition by Detroit-based artist Margo Wolowiec. Though we perceive them as paintings, these works, ranging from modest in scale to immersive panoramas, are in fact loom-woven cloth infused with images via dye-sublimation transfer.
Constructed from amalgamations of images, forecast graphics and texts related to recent catastrophic storms and their aftermath, they draw a line between the realities of climate change, its causes, and broader implications for our society. In particular, Wolowiec connects the real-time subjugation of women in a patriarchal system to continued environmental debasement. Furthermore, correlating to their method of collection from online sources, the images illuminate the vulnerabilities of social networks and the media as magnifiers of false information regarding weather events and news in general.
Technically speaking, narrative textiles and computer screens occupy historical poles as information delivery systems. The convergence of a fabric’s warp and weft is echoed in an image conjured by accreted configurations of pixels. The blending of ancient craft and bleeding edge technology is a logical outgrowth of the artist’s wide-ranging interests. Wolowiec sources images utilizing her own narrowed search parameters which allow for both specificity and accident. Texts appear as well, but with marginal legibility in their final output, reinforcing the overall use of patterning that is at the core of these works. The sourced images are first altered, cropped and otherwise collaged digitally, printed to heat-sensitive paper with dye sublimation inks, then transferred to partially woven polymer threads. The dye saturated threads are then unraveled and re-woven into their final configuration and hand-stitched to stretched linen.
The resulting works move between passages of legibility and pure abstraction. Images of droplets of water and cloud-filled skies are complicated during the weaving process, accumulating tech-failure traits like a faulty satellite TV image. It is in these moments that we are most aware of the sinewy lines and connective threads that make up the cloth underpinning. Our eye is continually active, drawn close to the surface and pulling back on the suggestion of image or visible typeface. The surfaces are waterlogged with digitally-sourced content that has been physically pushed into painterly tactility and presence via the ancient tradition of weaving.