Elisabeth Kley exhibition at Fabric Workshop and Museum

The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) presents “Elisabeth Kley: Minutes of Sand,” on view through August 15, 2021. The exhibition is the artist’s first solo museum show and features an entirely new body of work.

Invited to print yardage utilizing FWM’s world-renowned screen-printing facilities, Kley is interweaving her ceramic and painting practices with three new yardage designs and a new suite of ceramic sculpture for the exhibition.

Elisabeth Kley artwork

Elisabeth Kley’s work sits at the distinctive confluence of pattern, decoration, and contemporary art. Known for her black-and-white patterns featured in ceramics, drawings, paintings, and site-specific installations, the artist draws inspiration from motifs featured in ornamentation, architecture, interior decoration, and a myriad of global arttraditions. Merging the ancient and modern, Kley translates these fragments into an interdisciplinary practice conveying ideas of opulence and mystery.

“Elisabeth Kley looks for inspiration from global art and architecture histories,” states FWM Curator Karen Patterson. “Islamic tile work from Central Asia, Spain, and North Africa can be seen in her geometric and floral patterns. Her bold, abstract lines are inspired by Roman frescoes and mosaics, Egyptian hieroglyphic or Coptic, Indian and Wiener Werkstätte textile designs. And yet she conveys these motifs with a contemporary edge, one that feels both handmade and in motion.”

The new yardage designs developed in collaboration with FWM for “Minutes of Sand” present a distinct but complementary trio unified by their vibrant colors and graphic patterns. Each was printed on site during Kley’s screen-printing residency, part of an initiative by Patterson to reignite screen-printing residencies similar to those foundational to FWM in the 1970s.The exhibition will also present a new series of ceramic works developed in the artist’s Brooklyn studio.

Elisabeth Kley, After Bakst yardage designed by Kley in the FWM print studios, 2020. Photo credit: Carlos Avendaño

Standing in contrast to the exuberant colors in the yardage, these new ceramics are painted in Kley’s signature black-and-white style. FWM’s Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program enables artists to take their work in fresh and often unexpected directions. The program’s collaborative focus inspires the creation of new work, contributing to a permanent collection of some 5,000 artworks and an archive that preserves and illustrates the course of artistic production. Printmaking is integral to FWM’s history and remains a vital part of its mission. In the 1970s, celebrated artists benefited from three-week opportunities to create new yardage that would later inform their burgeoning contemporary art practices. Now, more than forty years later, the short-term screen-printing residency program is being reignited for a new cadre of artists.

About Elisabeth Kley

Elisabeth Kley (b. New York) received her BA from Empire State College and studied at Hunter College. Her ceramics, watercolors, drawings and prints have been featured in an exhibition history spanning over 25years.

About the Fabric Workshop and Museum

Founded in 1977, the Fabric Workshop and Museum both makes and presents, encouraging artists to experiment with new materials and new media in a veritable living laboratory. Through its renowned Artist-in-Residence (AIR) Program, FWM collaborates with artists to expand their practices, while documenting the course of artistic production from inspiration to realization. FWM presents large-scale exhibitions, installations, and performative work, utilizing innovative fiber and other media. Today, FWM is the only US institution devoted to creating work in textile and new media in collaboration with some of the most significant artists of our time.

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