From September 8th until October 16th, The Marc Straus Gallery in New York will feature Dutch sculptor Maartje Korstanje’s work in a group exhibition called “SUTURES.” The exhibition display artworks that employ weaving, sewing, and/or fibrous elements such as thread in the composition, something in which Korstanje’s sculptures are right at home.
The exhibition title is borrowed from a featured work by Louise Bourgeois, Sutures (1993). Bourgeois came from a family in the textile business. Upon her arrival in New York, her first studio as a young artist was a former thread factory in Brooklyn. The turn-of-the-century thread spools embedded in this sculpture were scavenged from this studio. Around 1992, Bourgeois, then in her eighties, began to focus inward and produced autobiographical art. In Sutures, she finally used the spools, kept away for 50 years, perhaps to reference her childhood, linking her fears and hopes inseparably to her art. Along with her monogrammed childhood lapel pin, the sculpture uses actual artifacts from throughout her life. Bourgeois’ handmade and poetic works were to influence the next generation of important artists, who like her have since thoughtfully fused the humble art forms of weaving, sewing and sculpting.
Weaving and sewing were traditionally recognized as craft, and women’s work, but its importance has outgrown such narrow considerations and it is now an integral part of the work of artists from around the world, both men and women. SUTURES explores the continued invention of art within this broad genre. How does an artist imbue a strong sense of history and memory into this delicate process? From woven object to sculpture, each artist introduces his/her own distinct thread-work that elicits an individual expression of labor, love, and intimacy. Consider the process of creating the woven object: a work may begin with a single string and conclude as a complex and interconnected whole. Taken as a metaphor for life, weaving mirrors perhaps the circulatory system; arteries, and veins, and speaks to the intricate web of human consequences, each choice as important as the next ultimately culminating in a fragile and complicated existence.
Maartje Korstanje creates sculptures that are often based on beauty in nature incorporating an amalgam of materials, including thread. Korstanje’s work reveals biomorphic organic forms that are indefinable but yet strangely familiar. The threads in the work resemble sinewy veins that suggest a sentience that pulse beneath.