Explore Fiber is a collaborative website showcasing and exploring fiber as a fine art material.
Norma Minkowitz is a fiber artist whose broad range of work includes vessel forms, wearable art, gut work, wall work, figurative sculpture, mixed media sculptures, portraits and drawings. She is represented by browngrotta arts and Snyderman/works Galleries.
Permeance, 1990, 14 x 12.5 x 4.5, Collection Wadsworth Atheneum
Pillow, 2011, 9 x 14.75 x 13.75, Private Collection
For many years I have been exploring the possibilities of crocheted, interlaced sculptures stiffened into hard mesh-like structures. The web-like fabric defines volume and form. Process becomes a part of the content and both structure and surface are achieved simultaneously. These mesh sculptures often make statements about enclosures and entrapment. They can suggest the safety of a shelter or a cage from which there is no escape. The vessels take the form of human bodies and body parts, as well as natural and geometric shapes. Interaction between the forms and the themes of containment create work that is both personal and psychologically complex.
The Present, 2011, 26 x 28 x 27
Boy in a Puddle, 2002, 21 x 12 x 8, Private Collection
I often dwell on the mysterious cycles of death and regeneration. In many of my works twigs and branches are left inside and are visible in an eerie way through the exterior of the sculpture, often suggesting connections to the human skeletal or circulatory systems. The outer netting obscures the shape within creating a sense of ambiguity in the shadows of the work. On the surface, paint and stitched lines appear and disappear depending on the light and viewing position. Intricate and random patterns are created by the nature of the open mesh structures. All of these elements combine to convey a sense of energy as the viewer moves around my sculpture. Conceptually, the interlaced fibers can lend a wonderful duality—simultaneously creating a delicate quality, but also implying the strength of steel mesh—symbolic of the human condition.
Ruskya Certza, 2002, 6.5 x 15 x 21.5
Baggage, 2007, 43 x 50 x 6
photo Tom Grotta
Drawing continues to be important to me and I find that the threads and wires I use mimic the cross hatching and irregularities of my pen and ink drawings. My sculpture evolves into a three dimensional drawing. Recently I have been filling the open spaces of the fiber’s netting with modeling paste having plaster-like consistency. This process creates a surface that focuses on and highlights the lines I draw with stitches, introducing a bas relief of concept, energy and movement. I often highlight these drawn lines with colors of paint.
As my work evolves, one thing remains consistent: I am engaged in creating works that weave the personal and universal together.
Her work is haunting, powerful, beautiful and captivating. What an inspiration for all artists!