Fiber art exhibit draws from cross-cultural traditions, recollects artist's journey

The Kinetic Gallery opened its doors for its second exhibit of the semester on Wednesday Oct. 1. The exhibit titled “Handed On” features a display of textile work by artist Kelsey Viola Wiskirchen, who specializes in weaving and other fiber art. The exhibit is made up of 30 striking, 10-foot tall woven panels suspended from the ceiling and depicts many of the women Wiskirchen lived and worked with in Bolivia and South Africa.

Wiskirchen’s time in Bolivia and South Africa was spent working with local women as part of weaving co-operatives. Wiskirchen initially journeyed to Bolivia as part of a global exploration of the medium. While working on her master of fine arts thesis, Wiskirchen found herself thinking about her work in a larger context.

KenneTH SanTOS/STaff PHOTOGRaPHeR “Handed On” opened on Wednesday Oct. 1 in the Kinetic Gallery. The show cosisted of textile works inspired by artist Kelsey Viola

Wiskirchen who drew inspirationfrom her travels to Boliva and South america.

“I felt the need to see what this textile tradition is like in other parts of the world,” she said. “I was interested in that because I hadn’t seen with my own eyes the experience of women really empowering themselves and their families with their work.”

In South Africa, she was in Bolivia and South Africa. a maze of hanging images,

been told that I don’t put enough of myself into my work, so this seemed like a good way to accomplish that,” she said.

From there, Wiskirchen felt the need to continue exploring. “After I went to Bolivia, I felt like it was just sort of the tip of the iceberg for me. I wanted to go to a different part of the world where I knew there was also a rich textile tradition,” she said.

Her current exhibit continues that same focus on interaction and the human element of weaving. The pieces themselves are large, translucent images taken from photographs of the individual women Wiskirchen worked with

Wiskirchen has also utilized the space in the gallery to portray a journey. The image of a smiling girl at work on her loom, positioned at the front of the gallery, greets the viewer and invites the viewer into the collection. The spatial utilization continues throughout as the viewer slides through

The Kinetic Gallery exhibition of the “Handed On” installation also marks the first time Wiskirchen has utilized her own writing as part of a collection. “The stories on the material are the women’s own,” she said.

While the stories on the tapestry are the women’s own, Wiskirchen’s writings which ring and frame the exhibition are more of a creative adaptation of her memories of her journeys.