Thursday, March 4, 2010

Nick Cave at the Fowler Museum

I visited a fabulous exhibition at the Fowler Museum (through May 30) last weekend and I needed to tell you about it here. The work of this artist Nick Cave is extraordinary. He culls his ideas from the found objects and assemblage to design and create the most astounding work called “Sound Suits”. His influences are from the visual cues he takes from travel, nature and his surroundings. This work is like an acid induced trip to West Africa, to observe traditional costumes and themes without leaving your neighborhood.

Nick Cave is an artist who came to fame by way of his “sound suits”. These suits were originally made as a tool to create a masque and barrier between the viewer and the wearer. He wanted to make a statement about the seer and the viewer. He also wanted to explore the option to not be judged by the outside population and people who didn’t personally know him. He selected bark and sticks to create his first suit. When he finished the suit and tried it on, he found that when he moved they made noise. Unexpectedly he began to work with the sound that the suit produced. Hence the term “sound suit”. Later he embraced raffia and other materials that created a sound and studied the many ways he could continue the exploration. Then he went a step further using other found materials and created new versions of the original. All the work in the show is handmade and a labor of love and an integral part of his creative process. Many suits are crocheted or sewn together by hand. A process that in America is all but gone. In one of the pieces he crocheted a suit out of multi colored doilies. Can you see your grandmothers old coffee table? Other work is beaded and some have obscure trimmings of fashions long since out of style.
I suggest everyone visit the exhibition and enjoy a wonderful afternoon seeing, and imagining the work and mind of this artist.

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