What do you get when you apply ancient craftsmanship to modern culture? The answer is “Pop Construct,” a new exhibit at the Artistry Performing Arts Theater in Bloomington.
Rachel Daly is the director of visual arts at Artistry and saw a common theme among three artists who submitted their work to the gallery, she said. Jennifer Drinkwater, Tersa Paschke and Robert Slotterback are all skilled crafters as well as artists who merge history and present culture in their work.
“Art has always been about expressing what the culture is,” Daly said.
The trio of artists use their work to explore mundane scenes and pop culture to unveil how they influence human lives. Drinkwater contributed several sets of weekly magazine covers, recreated with embroidery, in a series called “168 Hours,” which is the amount of time each magazine would be relevant to readers and how long it took her to embroider each one.
The magazine covers, taken from “Time” and “People” magazines, are immediately recognizable from across the room but become pixelated and distorted as the viewer approaches. The effect, created with thousands of tiny stitches, is similar to that of impressionist paintings and throws off the viewer’s expectations, Daly said.
“When you stand back and see the whole, you fill in the blanks,” she noted.
Similarly, Paschke contrasts modern street scenes from across the world with intricate needlework and traditional imagery. She mixes painting, printmaking, photography and textile design to construct a layered representation of how globalization and tradition intersect in many cultures, Daly said.
Slotterback’s wooden sculptures are a departure from Drinkwater and Paschke’s fiber art. They include a tiny city and a fully functioning writing desk that folds to create several different QR codes, which visitors can scan with their smartphones to discover another layer of the artwork.