By a thread

String as contemporary art medium

String in contemporary art: previous >

Gabriel Pionkowski

Gabriel Pionkowski

Gabriel Pionkowski's singular - and increasingly acclaimed - practice fuses the traditions of weaving with painterly concerns via emphasis on interrogation of the painting as object.

His highly labour-intensive working methods consist of unravelling the canvas support, painting each thread by hand, then "reconstructing the canvas using a traditional hand-weaving loom".

The results are then partially reconfigured on the supporting stretcher, albeit with the addition of drapes, folds, incisions or transparencies that emphasise their newly sculptural status and subversion of the traditional picture plane.

Gabriel Pionkowski

Brian Wills

Brian Wills

Utilising taut rayon threads as if they were linear pencil or paint strokes, LA-based artist Brian Wills builds up geometric, textured compositions on a monochrome base of iridescent pigment.

In some works, string is stretched from the edges of raised frames as well as across the pictorial surface to create intriguing three-dimensional images consisting of literally thousands of strands of thread.

Brian Wills
Brian Wills
Brian Wills

Latifa Echakhch

Latifa Echakhch: 'Frames'

French/Moroccan artist Latifa Echakhch's well-known 'Frames' are made by unravelling Islamic prayer mats strand by strand until only a surrounding fringe is left.

The act conflates a number of symbolic gestures; confusing, for example, the demarcation between holy and unholy ground, as well as reducing a wealth of heritage and history to a newly negotiable space defined purely by geometric borders.


Adrian Esparza

Adrian Esparza

Through the process of unravelling traditional Mexican blankets then configuring the highly coloured thread into subtly shaded geometric abstractions, El Paso-based artist Adrian Esparza creates a literal crossover between folk and high art.

Leaving the thread attached umbilically to the serape's remnants, Esparza graphically emphasises the symbolic birth of new art forms from a heritage of Mexican identity and its popular culture.

Adrian Esparza
Adrian Esparza

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