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Laura Foster Nicholson

Weaving Water

March 28 – May 8, 2021

New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art presents new textile works by Laura Foster Nicholson. Weaving Water opens on Sunday, March 28 and runs through May 8, 2021. Gallery hours are 10:00 AM –5:00 PM Tuesday – Saturday and 12:00 –4:00 PM on Sunday. 

Venice has been flooding regularly for most of its existence. This phenomenon, called Acqua Alta, is related to high tides and lunar movements. In recent years, the floods have been exacerbated by sea level rise due to climate change. There are days when the city appears to completely float on the water.

Like many other coastal cities, Venice faces a future of damage, dislocation, and loss. As the island sinks, the buildings are suffering structural damage. This puts the artistic treasures inside under threat of ruin, yet there is a new beauty in its destruction as the facades of exquisite buildings reflect the water that is submerging them.

–Laura Foster Nicholson

In Weaving Water, Laura Foster Nicholson builds upon previous investigations around flooding and architecture. Her intricately-woven textiles capture the romance and beauty of built structures, while inviting viewers to confront the environmental consequences of industry and development. Nicholson explores these themes through depictions of arches and patterns in Venetian architecture, colorful patterns of container ships, and reflective bodies of water.

Nicholson’s compositions, material choice, and methods of weaving directly relate to the concepts she is exploring. For example, warp threads, intersected by the perpendicular weft threads, make a construction similar to a 2-dimensional architectural view. Nicholson also uses modern, metallic threads to suggest the reflective surface of shimmering water. Vacillating between opacity and transparency of layers of color, Nicholson creates strong geometric facades, reflected in water.

Laura Foster Nicholson is a textile artist known for her handwoven tapestries. With a BFA from Kansas City Art Institute and MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, she has lectured, taught, and exhibited in the US, Canada, and Italy. Her artwork is in several museum collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, The Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Denver Art Museum, and the Archives of the Venice Biennale. Grants & awards include an NEA fellowship, the Leone di Pietra prize at the Venice Biennale of Architecture, three Illinois Arts Council fellowships, an artist fellowship from IN Arts Commission, and a grant from the Graham Foundation for Research in the Fine Arts.

*TK Smith is a writer, art critic, and curator. Quote referenced is from Smith's talk Abstraction as a State of Being: Identity, Fragmented Archives, and the Photographs of Chandra McCormick and Keith Calhoun

This exhibition is made possible in part by the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana, and the Indiana Arts Commission, which receives support from the State of Indiana and the National Endowment for the Arts.