Artist: Mimi Haddon
Exhibition: MFA Fiber Art
Media: Textile and dyes
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
The pieces Haddon has on display in this exhibit are what could be described as large textile sculptures. She uses old t-shirts to weave and sow unconventional shapes. The pieces all have different shapes but all share the same assorted color scheme of vibrant primary and secondary colors. The use of t-shirts creates a soft texture that adds familiarity to the pieces despite its eccentricity. The patterns within the floor and tower piece consist of multiple scraps of colors with obscure lines separating each, creating the illusion of melting colors and fabric.
Haddon exclusively uses t-shirts she found at used clothing stores such as Goodwill in her art. A year ago, she realized that many people wear event t-shirts only once and then throw them away. Her way of recycling t-shirts is to give new purpose to them in her art by ripping the shirts apart and stitching them into something completely new. According to Haddon, she also finds inspiration from indigenous cultures and colors. For example, her floor piece looks similar to a map showcasing different territories. Her “wall of balloons” aims to explore color theory and mimics somber emotions exemplified by the deflated balloons she saw in a game on the Santa Monica Pier ten years ago.
There were two things about her work that I really loved: the irony of the colors and the resourcefulness of her medium. Although Haddon stated she used vibrant colors as inspiration from indigenous cultures, I initially thought the bright colors were meant to counteract the deflated and dejected silhouettes of the pieces. The balance between happy colors and sad shapes piqued my interest as I had to stop and thoroughly think of how her work made me feel emotionally (and to this moment, I am still not quite sure). It also took me a while to realize what sort of fabric she had used as the threads were so thick and the fabric looked so soft. Haddon had essentially caught my attention with an item I see every day but shed it in a whole different, unrecognizable light. Her work is something I have never seen before – it caught me off guard but convinced me to stay and appreciate it.