Monday, January 11, 2010

Where Fiber Art Meets Hot Fudge Sundae

Until recently, the contemporary art world politely ignored the encroachment into artists’ studios of techniques more commonly associated with traditional practical and domestic arts. “Knitted, Knotted, Netted” at the Hunterdon Art Museum confronts this trend head on, presenting work by a dozen artists made using the methods of the title.

Each of these techniques is quite ancient, according to the exhibition catalog, probably dating to Paleolithic times, when humans first began to fashion clothing and hunting instruments from plant fibers and animal materials. Each is characterized by looping of a thread or cord, in contrast to, say, weaving or braiding, in which the elements may interlace but not necessarily loop.

Contemporary artists have pushed these old techniques in fascinating directions, as is evidenced by the beauty, variety and inventiveness of the works in this show, organized by Hildreth York, one of the museum’s curators. In addition to using natural materials, artists now work with all sorts of industrial and synthetic substances, enabling the creation of far more dynamic looped structures.


“Knitted, Knotted, Netted,” Hunterdon Art Museum, 7 Lower Center Street, Clinton, through Jan. 24; (908) 735-8415 or

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