Sunday, May 16, 2010

Major at Heriard-Cimino; Honeywell at LeMieux

Louisiana fabric artist Shawne Major makes tapestries, but they’re not like any you’ve ever seen before. Employing small kitschy objects woven into surreal, oddly shaped wall hangings, they are nothing like what we normally think of as embroidery. Utilizing things like dice, feathers, hair curlers, tiny toy animals, Christmas tree lights, keys and little metal skulls, her concoctions come together with a spidery flair that falls somewhere between voodoo and pop art. LAMB is shaped like a very small dress, narrow at the top and flared at the bottom. Pink and densely textured, it looks innocent until you get close enough to see that it’s made from a manic mix of microscopically detailed beads, bangles, buttons, feathers, tiny forks and plastic rabbit heads arranged in a glowing psychedelic goulash of flamingo colored flotsam. LORELEI, top and above, is more elegant, an urn shaped tapestry that evokes romantic old Europe in its melange of gold beads, stars and metallic tassels punctuated by tiny round mirrors and turquoise tear drops amid silky crimson rosettes to yield something like the couture equivalent of a pealed pomegranate--a resplendent baroque mass of mysterious inviting morsels. It’s hard to say exactly what Major is doing, but she does it with remarkable virtuosity.

     Theresa Honeywell uses “feminine” sewing skills to create images inspired by old time tattoos. Mounted under glass, they are rendered in colored threads on exotic Asian fabrics instead of the usual pigments etched into hairy male flesh. LADY LUCK is an iconic bathing beauty bounded by butterfly wings, an 8 ball and a pair of dice. HOLD FAST, right, features a pair of perky sailor chicks saluting an old wooden frigate on pink silk with Old Glory, while DEVILISH GIRL, below, speaks for itself. Here Honeywell explores the contrasts between traditional masculine and feminine associations like a latter day Freud with a wicked sense of humor. ~Bookhardt

TICKLE: Wall Hangings by Shawn Major
Through May
Heriard-Cimino Gallery, 440 Julia St., 525-7300,

FRESH THREADS: New Work by Theresa Honeywell--Through May
LeMieux Galleries, 332 Julia St., 522-5988;