ARTIST TALK: Saturday, December 6, 2 pm to 4 pm
Ani Afshar’s multicultural upbringing inspires her beaded and woven contemporary artworks. Born in Istanbul, educated in Switzerland, and based in Chicago since 1975, Afshar draws on Eastern and Western traditions to craft her one-of-a-kind pieces. Afshar uses a range of color and diverse materials to create her artwork, which ranges from jewelry design to tapestries and installations. Celebrated both in this country and abroad, Afshar’s textile and jewelry designs reflect artistic traditions from across the globe.
Afshar states, "My weavings are driven by both the importance of the space division developed on paper through drawings and the impulsive notes incorporated as I weave. I use very simple weaving techniques without concealing the process. I don't get to see the work until its off the loom. Faith in my memory and my ability to visualize drives the work forward."
Tulle is a very fine starched, netting made of various fibers such as silk, nylon or rayon. Afshar uses this as the ground to create delicate and lyrical stories. They are purely visual and are created by incorporating various elements of tedious embroideries into the fabric and assembling them in a stimulating saga.
The weavings are made on a traditional loom where she painstakingly loops her hand-dyed yarns, intersecting the longitudinal "warp" threads with the transverse "weft." She utilizes silk and mohair, known as the "diamond fiber" for its sheen and luster.
"Everything I weave stems from an impression, a mood. The first stage is a rough drawing in which I try to capture the the feeling of a moment through notations, shapes and divisions of space. When I start a piece, I select the colors and try to match them with a sketch. Once the work is on the loom, I follow the chosen colors and overall division of space as closely as possible. The next stage - the details- are more spontaneous; I usually know where things are going to be, but not exactly what they are going to be. These develop instinctively with colors, beads and textures. I work with very basic techniques using the textures and colors as a palette. Once I have woven, I don't go back and unravel or embellish; everything is created on the loom.
Afshar's latest exhibition "NEW WORKS - A DIALOGUE" aims to merge these two very different styles in a subtle way. By working with more transparent weavings and denser elements in the tulle pieces, Ani Afshar creates a dialogue between the processes and materials. She has taken one of the oldest forms of art to a modern and captivating level. Her anecdotes captivate and compel through color, form, texture and movement. The three dimensionality of her "dialogue" lures one into a tactile state of joy.
In 2012, WOVEN GARDENS, SHREDDED SHADOWS, at the Hyde Park Art Center, revealed a selection of acclaimed landscape tapestries, intricate hand-woven wall hangings and tulle veil constructions Afshar produced in the 1990's. She also debuted artworks and installations created since her return to weaving in 2007 that were shown publicly for the first time. Guest curated by Frank Connet (artist and conservator) in consultation with Richard A. Born (Smart Museum, Senior Curator), the solo show spanned decades of textile work by the artist.
Afshar began her relationship with the Hyde Park Art Center as an art teacher in the school over 25 year ago. The Art Center first exhibited her work in 1987 as part of a three-person exhibition also organized by Richard Born who then described her tapestries as “simultaneously utilitarian objects and works of independent beauty intended both for use and appreciation at the same time.”
This rich foundation was re-kindled and expanded in the exhibition. The monographic show focused on stylistic consistencies and remarkable bead work in Afshar’s textile compositions from the 1990s to the present. Afshar also debuted a large wall relief installation made of found Turkish fabrics, tulle, beads, and wire that explored the disintegration of material over time, adding a temporal dimension to her work not present in her woven pieces.
ANI AFSHAR's latest silk & mohair weavings and tulle compositions will be showcased in an upcoming exhibition at Hilton | Asmus Contemporary opening on November 7, 2014.
ANI AFSHAR's fiber works are represented in prominent Chicago collections among others