Explore Fiber is a collaborative website showcasing and exploring fiber as a fine art material.
Caroline Lathan-Stiefel works with many materials that can be found in the art classroom. She utilizes these common art materials to create monumental installations that cross over between sculpture and drawing.
Since 2001, I have been making large-scale sculptural installations consisting of fabric, pipe cleaners, wire, string, plastic, thread and fishing weights that have been shown in gallery and museum settings, outdoor spaces, and most recently, in the six-story stairway of a building. The installations are drawings-in-space that cover, divide, encircle, and fill the spaces in which they are situated. My work involves both the slow, plodding movement of patching and sewing pieces of cloth and plastic to linear structures made of pipe cleaners, as well as quicker, more gestural actions that connect all of the parts into systems, making large suspended sculptures. Over the years, they have taken various forms: parasitic-like growths that cover interior architectural elements and outdoors structures; hanging tent forms that immerse the viewer; suspended walls that curve and divide spaces; excessive, organic masses that transform rooms into caves. I often see my work as being in flux and replicating various states of proliferating growth.
Check out this video in which the artist talks about “Project Atrium” that was installed at the MOCA Jacksonville in 2014. Particularly touching about the work is the connection of the piece to her dad’s own illness that resulted in brain damage.