The Laces and Fabrics of Patricia Miranda at the Jane St. Art Center

Artist Patricia Miranda. (Photos by Dion Ogust)

In March 2020, just when the containment was effective, Patricia Miranda posted a picture on Instagram of lace she had inherited from her grandmother and had shade. Miranda, artist, curator and educator, using natural dyes in its artistic and educational programs for 25 years, but to his surprise, it’s lace that attracted the attention of a visitor. The woman sent a huge box full of lace Miranda, the first of many gifts of this type. “I hit a nerve,” recalls Miranda. She began documenting lace donations, currently in the thousands and were collected in what she calls The Lace Archive; each piece is photographed, identified by its owner or the author, together with a written story (if there is one, and there often is), and cataloged.

But the New York-based artist was also inspired to incorporate the lace fragments into works of art, which she says would be a compelling way to make visible a meticulous work of care by women once confined to the home. home. The results are on display in “A Repairing Mend”, a solo exhibition of Miranda’s lace and fabric works which runs until May 8 at the Jane St. Art Center, 11 Jane St Suite A, Saugerties.

The centerpiece of the show is Lamentation for a Reasoned History, a monumental wall piece measuring about 10 feet high by 35 feet long that pulls lace out of the closet, so to speak — moldy boxes filled with hand-stitched fragments that many of us have inherited from our grandmothers and great-grandmothers (and I don’t know what to do with them). Its scarlet color is derived from a dye made from the cochineal insect, which is native to Mexico and Central America and was used by indigenous cultures thousands of years before the arrival of the Spaniards (Miranda s’ supplies dye in Peru). Lace enjoys a second life, transformed from the eye-straining needlework that has painstakingly evolved from women’s fingers into grand modernist-inspired works of art whose formal placement in the two adjoining galleries suggests the surrounded by a sacred space.

Artwork by artist Patricia Miranda at the Jane Street Art Center in Saugerties.

This meaning is reinforced by the dramatic but limited palette of pieces – either dark red, the color of passion, in the case of lace pieces, or white, in the case of pieces made from aprons, shirts and other garments. , a color that signifies purity (and in Chinese culture, death). In the back gallery, a mysterious sculpture made of pieces of white fabric resembling a hut or an enormous skirt is framed on each side by red laces suspended from the ceiling, resembling chuppahs (the canopy suspended above the bride in traditional Jewish weddings), an arrangement worthy of a temple. (Miranda said she designed the pieces as a way to use the wires already hanging from the ceiling.) There’s a sense of ceremony, of sanctuary. The transparency of the lace – in the absence of a substrate, the lattice structure of the thread is called dot in aria, or line in the air, which gives it tensile strength – and the whiteness of the aprons and other textiles gives the impression of dematerialization. We entered a spiritual kingdom, whose stories and expressions are signified by the lower strand of wire.

Artwork by artist Patricia Miranda at the Jane Street Art Center in Saugerties.

Indeed, one of the attractions of the medium of lace and textiles found is the low environmental footprint, Miranda noted. It uses only natural dyes, which include not only insects mealybugs, but wasp nests in oak gall and mineral clay – materials with a rich history rooted in ancient indigenous cultures. The malleability of materials allows him to shape the pieces to space (and portability mean it does not have to rent a warehouse for storage.) While she recently had a similar exposure lace pieces and tissue Garrison Art Center, she made adjustments Lamentation so it fits better in the gallery Jane St. Art Center (for example, it increased the height of Lamentation to accommodate the higher ceiling on Jane Street).

Like a quilt antique patchwork Lamentation transforms the collective work of unknown artisans (although a few of the pieces she has collected are machine-made synthetics, most are linen, cotton or silk and sewn by hand) into a modernist vocabulary which unifies the fragments, which vary in scale and design, into a fresco-sized rectangle imbued with syncopated rhythms. To underscore the intimate relationship of textiles to the body (which is wrapped in fabric from birth to death) as well as the elegiac quality of lace as a cultural artifact once integral to women’s lives, Miranda joined from clay and plaster ex-votos of various body parts to lace.

The grouping of intimate household objects such as aprons, handkerchiefs, towels, doilies and antimacassars into several large circular wall pieces titled Wrapped in unfolding arms powerfully signifies the absence, of those hands that knit, sew and embroider, of those bodies that wore hand-embroidered aprons. There is a sense of grief, enhanced by the drape and sagging tissue, commemorating the unsung work and anonymous lives. The association is reinforced by the sculptural installation of the hut-like structure covered with linen and cotton shirts, skirts and other items in the rear gallery. It could represent a huge skirt, which “is a powerful pairing,” Miranda said, noting that the interior is hung with more linens, including her own installation. “There is the image of the Virgin Mary in which she has the whole church under her skirts.” As with the lace, many aprons were donated. At first, she didn’t know what to do with them. “I was looking at them one day and I saw those ties and I thought about dropped arms,” ​​she recalled. “Some of these aprons are so carefully and beautifully embellished. Some were embroidered by children, for them to learn how to embroider.

To complete the show, Miranda draws lace patterns on gilt glass panels (she draws removing the gilding with wooden brushes). A second series uses graphite and rabbit skin glue on gold leaf. These ghostly images distill a material that is already only half there, interpreting the lace as a simple imprint in the sand, a complex atmosphere composed of snowflakes.

Artwork by artist Patricia Miranda at the Jane Street Art Center in Saugerties.

Miranda, who teaches at Montclair State University and New Jersey City University, is one of the founders of the organization led by The Crit Lab artists and MAPSpace, has advised several programs MFA taught conservation studies and received numerous grants and residencies. Two events will allow him to share his expertise with the public. On April 23, 16 am to 18 pm, the gallery is sponsoring a family workshop in which children and adults can discover the natural dyes; they will have the opportunity to dye their own piece of linen. On May 7, also from 16h to 18h, Miranda will be joined by Elena Kanagy-Loux, co-founder of the Brooklyn Lace Guild, for a study day lace. (Kanagy-Loux, a descendant of the Amish who grew up in the United States and Japan, spent four months funded by a grant to study the lace in Europe and specialist collections Antonio Ratti Textile Center of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. ) the two women will present a “lace the study box” and examine various samples of different types of lace to discuss in depth this unique craft. Visitors are also invited to lace gift during the exhibition.

“Patricia Miranda: A Repair Mend” is Jane St. Art Center, 11 Jane St., Saugerties, opened on Thursday. 12h-17h, Fri and Sat 12h-18h and Sun from 12h to 17h until May 8

Call (508) 241-0273 or see for more information.