November 5, 2012 – December 7, 2012
Where do the lines lie between art and craft, or between art and design? The art world has traditionally divided these disciplines, privileging fine art over the applied arts—but this division devalues the dialogue between fine and graphic artists. In Crossroads, the new exhibition at the Contemporary Art Galleries, Danish artist and textile designer Vibeke Rohland passionately engages with the intersection of visual art and design. Her work deliberately blurs the lines that have been drawn between the fine and applied arts for so long, and explores the ways that art and design influence each other and come together. Most of all, it asserts that design is equal to fine art, and that the dialogue between the disciplines is vital in both directions.
Rohland’s large-scale cloth works challenge the idea of fabric as strictly utilitarian; she treats fabric not as an intermediate point on the way to the production of clothing or upholstery, but as an end unto itself. For Rohland, the precise beauty and streamlined simplicity of good design serves an aesthetic purpose as well as a functional one. She embraces visual abstraction, instead employing a vocabulary of repeated patterns, bold graphic shapes, and vivid color. The works featured in Crossroads draw from long Danish traditions of textile production and the applied arts. Both monumental and rigorously simple, by turns hand-woven or mass-produced, Rohland’s textile art creates an experience of pure design that is immersive and unapologetically material.