The truth and candor expressed in Kara Mia Fenoglietto’s artist statement sets the tone for her new exhibit, Hope All is Well. In her statement she addresses a culture preoccupied with the appearances of well-being while hiding its shared vulnerabilities. With hybrid garments and fabric installations she comments on this disconnect between personal anxieties and appearances. Fenoglietto, schooled and working in the arena of fashion design, knows her chosen medium well and uses specific materials and techniques that subtly suggest ideas underlying her theme.
With cire-coated nylon, pinstriped cotton, digitally printed fabric, vintage crocheted pieces, oversized lace and nylon netting she fashions a thought-provoking collection that weaves her re-imaginings with our own interpretation and association with these materials. Striped Shirt, a patchwork of pinstripes with impossibly close sleeves brought to my mind a straitjacket for an angry mid-management Amazonian. The oversized pleated nylon fabric of Curtain Sleeve, deflated against the wall, suggested an overzealous and exhausted party goer.
The main focus of this show is a large installation. Here, an assemblage of fabric and crocheted pieces hang from wooden cloth pins on a series of suspended lines. Individual pieces hang precariously from neighboring pieces. Full of texture and nuance, they look like a survivalist – hanging on and hanging in there; a delicate and courageous lot.
Hanging alongside this quirky grouping is a screen of digitally printed fabric where photo finished replicas of these same crocheted pieces are enlarged and posed on a surreal green/black lawn. Viola! the plucky survivalist has been neatly upgraded to an attractive and impenetrable surface.
Fenoglietto tackles a formidable subject with subtlety and humor. In Hope All is Well the material used abounds in tactile impressions and personal associations, making her task a pleasure for us to consider.