When we say goodbye to the things we once loved, we face feelings of loneliness and nostalgia. Artist Caitlin McCormack experienced these feelings when her grandparents passed away, and she found comfort in crochet, a family tradition: “My grandmother was a very talented crocheter, and my grandfather was an exceptionally-skilled bird carver. Something about the receptive process of crocheting seemed to help me to cope with their absence.” McCormack’s delicate crocheted designs of animal skeletons come from death, but she uses them to reconstruct memories from life.
We are in the season where skeletons appear everywhere, in every iteration from the cute to the eerie and downright disturbing. Philadelphia based artist Caitlin McCormack delicately crochets replicas of animal remains that make us look at skeletons in a new way. Her vintage-looking works embody both the beauty and eerie qualities of skeletons, while evoking the spirit of the life they once had. On October 23rd, she will exhibit a new series of crocheted skeletons in her upcoming exhibition at Paradigm Gallery in Philadelphia. Titled “Mnemosyne”, named after the Greek goddess of memory, McCormack’s works explore the idea of reconstructing memories.
While some artists view yarn bombing as purely decorative, Olek (HF Vol. 29) often swathes objects in crochet to draw attention to important socio-political issues. Known for the outspoken messages in her large-scale, colorful work, she was recently invited to create a piece in New Delhi, India for the St+art Delhi street art festival. For her canvas, Olek chose one of the local homeless shelters called “Raine Basera,” which provide people with temporary lodging overnight. With the help of legions of volunteers and donations from Indian fashion labels, Olek beautified the shelter with bright yellow, purple, and red crocheted fabrics that evoke India’s famously vibrant textiles. Though it’s visually alluring, the piece ultimately imparts a sobering message about the reality of poverty in New Delhi — and many major cities around the world.
A veritable escape from reality, Mandy Greer’s current exhibition, “The Ecstatic Moment” at the Hudson River Museum, immerses the viewer in all of Greer’s diverse artistic practices at once. Constructing a new world through her large-scale crochet installations, Greer uses yarn to link together elaborate costume works, fantastical photography, experimental films, sculptures and collections of objects (both natural and manmade) that she gathered herself or appropriated from the museum’s permanent collection.
Always searching for new applications for her crochet practice (see our coverage of her crocheted train and crocheted boat as well as our extensive feature in Hi-Fructose Vol. 29), Olek recently traveled to the Caribbean for an underwater installation in Isla Mujeres, Mexico.
Street art has been criticized for being a boy’s club, so for the few internationally-prominent female street artists out there, it has been vital to foster a sense of camaraderie across national borders. This May, StolenSpace Gallery in London brings together two prolific artists, Olek and Miss Van, for two side-by-side solo shows that are in direct dialogue with one another. The two artists are long-time friends and admirers of one another’s work, and though they have been included in many group shows and street art projects together (during Miami Art Basel last December, they created neighboring artworks in the public art nexus Wynwood Walls), this is their first joint gallery project.