A Common Thread curated by Ashanti McGee
A COMMON THREAD | CURATED BY ASHANTI McGEE
April 2, 2021–July 24, 2021 | Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art | Center Gallery
The Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art and the Las Vegas Womxn of Color Arts Festival are proud to present A Common Thread, a group exhibition featuring textile art by nine womxn artists of color from Las Vegas and other communities across the United States. Drawing on traditions and perspectives from a variety of backgrounds, these artists are ensuring that the expanding field of textile arts includes progressive forms of personal expression, cultural critique, and community resilience.
“In the United States, textile work was originally a woman’s work during the mid 19th century and 20th century and in many places it still is,” says curator Ashanti McGee. “For women of color, it was particularly a common job. My own grandmother left segregated South Carolina and, despite several misfortunes, made a living—first through sewing and creating clothing like most, and eventually becoming a master embroiderer for the Lutheran Churches of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. My mother embroidered by hand, and taught myself and my daughter to sew.”
This “idea of lineage through textile” made an impact on McGee’s curation. She points out that during the pandemic she has noticed an increasing number of womxn who are picking up textiles to reconnect themselves to techniques they remember learning from their family members. It’s a way of paying homage to “the beauty that was considered common and domestic work.” At the same time, she reflects on the radical range of possibilities that textile art can cover. Once typified by the woven abstracts of Anni Albers (1889–1994), fine art textiles today roam ambitiously through forms of knitting, beading, embroidery, felting, crochet, fabric collage, stitching, and quilting. The artworks in A Common Thread range from Ailene Pasco’s compact sculptural vessels to Yacine Tilala Fall’s performance props and the expansive works of Desire Moheb-Zandi, whose day-glo “glitch” tapestries—inspired by the loom weaving of her grandmother in Turkey—embrace plastics, wire, tubing, paint, and rubber.
A Common Thread showcases the radical possibilities of traditional forms. The exhibition features work by Adriana Chavez, Ashley Hairston Doughty, Yacine Tilala Fall, Noelle Garcia, Isar King, Tiffany Lin, Desire Moheb-Zandi, Lyssa Park, and Ailene Pasco. The exhibition will also feature a poem by Southern Nevadan poet, Erica Vital-Lazare, and text written by Jocelyn Jackson, founder of JUSTUS Kitchen and co-founder of People’s Kitchen Collective.
Ashanti McGee would like to thank the Marjorie Barrick Museum, staff and volunteers, Alisha Kerlin for the opportunity to curate this exhibition, the Womxn of Color Arts Festival team, Joy Boggs, and my close network of family and friends who have been patient with me at this time.
Support for this exhibition is provided by the WESTAF Regional Arts Resilience Fund, a relief grant developed in partnership with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support arts organizations in the 13-state western region during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional programs are funded in part with support from Nevada Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Adriana Chavez is a queer interdisciplinary performer, director, educator and image maker who strives to embody diverse perspectives of the human condition through her work. She has worked with the NYC Clown Theater Festival, the Naked Empire Bouffon Company, CA/MA, Shakespeare & Company, MA, and with many institutions across Nevada, including Majestic Repertory Theatre, Las Vegas Theatre Company, A Public Fit, Meow Wolf and participated in the Inaugural Bullfrog Biennial at the Goldwell Open Air Museum. Chavez holds an MFA in Ensemble-based Physical Theatre from Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre. She is based in Las Vegas.
Ashley Hairston Doughty holds a BFA in Visual Communications from Washington University in St. Louis, and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has received awards from the Caxton Club, the College Book Arts Association, and Arion Press. Currently an Assistant Professor of Art at UNLV, she uses her business, Design Kettle, to create design projects with an emphasis on meaningful storytelling.
Yacine Tilala Fall is an interdisciplinary conceptual artist. She received a BFA from the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design. Using performance, sculpture, painting and natural materials,
her work investigates identity, politics, and history through the lens of the body. Her work and practice speaks to the human body and its entangled relationship with the natural environment. A Senegalese heritage and an American upbringing informs her practice.
Noelle Garcia Based in the Chicago area, Noelle Garcia is an artist and educator who focuses on themes of identity, family history and recovered narratives in her work. She is an indigenous artist from the Klamath and Paiute tribes. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Her paintings, drawings, and soft sculptures have been exhibited in galleries and institutions across
the United States. Garcia has earned awards and fellowships at various institutions such as the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the Nevada Arts Council, the Illinois Arts Council, and the American Indian Graduate Center. She currently teaches as an Adjunct Faculty at National Louis University and is a Teaching Artist with the Chicago Arts Partnership in Education, where she was the Program and Research Associate for five years. Artist Residencies include OxBow, ACRE, and Ucross.
Isar King was born in New York City. She was introduced to textiles by her mother, who sewed the majority of her children’s Sunday clothes. “She made us matching dresses from the fabric that she purchased from little local shops on Delancey Street or from the Prospect Place market,” the artist recalls. Later her father found work at a fashion production company. “The company tossed away more fabric than we could have acquired in a lifetime. My life around textiles has evolved into various areas since those days. However, I will never forget waiting for my mom to select fabric to make us those “mother and daughter dresses” while I played in the button barrels in those dusty drygood stores.” King studied at New York’s High School of Fashion Industries and received a BA in Anthropology & Ethnic Studies from UNLV. A former Social Services Coordinator for South Fork Band Council of Western Shoshone and the founder of a handmade fashion business, she currently works as an Arts Instructor for the City of Las Vegas.
Tiffany Lin is a visual artist whose work examines how power is expressed in the subtext of American vernacular. Through a multidisciplinary practice that spans drawing, writing, and performance, she demonstrates how language and data are deployed tactically to reify colonial legacies and state power. Utilizing both creative and sociological methods, she combines participatory action, interviews, and social theory to support her claim that desire and belonging in the United States are mediated by external politics. Lin holds a MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Illustration Practice and a BA in Gender & Women’s Studies and Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley.
She currently lives and works in Las Vegas where she joins the Department of Art at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas as a Visiting Assistant Professor.
Desire Moheb-Zandi was born in Germany and raised in Adana, Turkey. She traces her current textile art practice back to childhood memories of her Turkish grandmother weaving on a loom. After moving to New York City in 2010 she studied at the Parsons New School of Design and the Art Students League of New York. Her work has been exhibited in the United States and Europe, with exhibitions at Asya Geisberg Gallery, NYC, The Newsstand Project, Los Angeles, CA, and superzoom, Paris, France. Moheb-Zandi’s experimental weaving practice is driven by an active interest in the possibilities of nontraditional materials and forms. She uses her loom like a sketchbook, “drawing” in three dimensions as she weaves.
Lyssa Park is an interdisciplinary illustrator based in Las Vegas. Her work expands from picture books to female erasures in South Korea. Her work can be found in the La Cocina SF, and Believer Magazine. In 2019 She was awarded the Society of Illustrators Student Award and was shortlisted for the Nami International Picture Book Concours. Lyssa received a BFA in Illustration from California College of the Arts in San Francisco, CA, and is currently is an MFA candidate at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
Ailene Pasco was born in Cavite, Philippines and raised in Northern California. A passionate advocate for public art, she uses textiles, sculpture, and film photography to raise awareness of issues such as nature conservation and the therapeutic value of positivity. Pasco received her BA in sculpture and a minor in art history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2019. Currently a resident of the Las Vegas Valley, she has exhibited her work throughout the region, both in formal galleries and as public guerrilla-style interventions. In addition to her work as an artist, mother, and educator, she creates customized handmade textiles under the name Ozzy, Olly & Ox.
ABOUT THE MARJORIE BARRICK MUSEUM OF ART
The Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art believes everyone deserves access to art that challenges our understanding of the present and inspires us to create a future that holds space for us all. Located on the campus of the most racially diverse university in the United States, we strive to create a nourishing environment for those who continue to be neglected by contemporary art museums, including BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ groups. As the only art museum in the city of Las Vegas, we commit ourselves to leveling barriers that limit access to the arts, especially for first-time visitors. To facilitate access for low-income guests we provide free entry to all our exhibitions, workshops, lectures, and community activities. Our collection of artworks offers an opportunity for researchers and scholars to develop a more extensive knowledge of contemporary art in Southern Nevada. The Barrick Museum is part of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV).