Beaked Press Release

August 13, 2011


Contact: Kristie Duncan

Beaked: A Story in Fabric.
Savannah College of Art and Design
Fibers MFA Thesis Exhibition by Kristie Duncan.
September 14-28, 2011
Fahm Hall Gallery (1 North Fahm Street Savannah Ga 31401)
Reception: September 23, 2011 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Free and open to the public.
Gallery Hours 9am - 5pm Monday thru Friday.

Savannah College of Art and Design presents the MFA Fibers exhibition Beaked: A Story in Fabric by Kristie Carlisle Duncan.

Who would have thought fuzzy little blue birds would try and take over the world? That’s just what’s happening in the fabric world created by artist Kristie Carlisle Duncan. In this fantastical world the blue birds have decided all the other animals in their world should look more like them. The birds use crudely constructed structures such as flying machines and a Trojan Deer to seek out their converts. Are these cute little birds truly malicious or just initiating social advancement?

Duncan uses endearing creatures in vibrant scenes to comment on human behavior and social relationships. Her work is an experience in enchantment and allows the viewer to escape the real world in order to reflect on it. I am inspired by the rich connection story has with fiber.” Using fabric as the medium to tell her stories, Duncan mixes familiar domestic materials to create her artwork.

Duncan encourages the viewer’s imagination through the common. Simple materials that are easily recognized allow viewers to interpret the work based on their own experiences. “I use previously owned fabric. The comfort these fabrics gave to their owners can be seen in the deterioration. With these fabrics I am continuing a story that is already in progress.” This allows the viewer to approach subversive subject matter without apprehension. “The world can be a disturbing and deceitful place; fabric makes everything a bit softer.”

Her artwork may embrace a childlike innocence but its message is much more sophisticated. Duncan’s work is devoted to the absurd. These birds built an elaborate structure on the shell of one of the slowest animals though they could easily fly much faster. This becomes a metaphor for our cultural structures and our technology. Are we making things easier or more difficult on ourselves?

The exhibition will include two-dimensional narratives as well as three-dimensional kinetic sculptures all revolving around her tricky little blue bird story. Duncan’s style is a refined folk art meets craft. There is a life-size deer sculpture covered in a crazy quilt skin. A fabric turtle sculpture with an elaborate wood structure holding thirty felted blue birds balanced on top of its ceramic shell. The Crusade, a box wall hanging made of laser cut plexi-glass framed in wood, houses a scene where the birds have captured a rabbit in a cage. The literally and physically dark artwork comes to life, with birds and rabbit jumping and lights flashing, when its handle is cranked. Duncan has also created a large fabric wall textile seven feet tall by fifteen feet wide titled, Beaked, summing up her appliqu├ęd narrative.

Duncan is a graduate student in the fibers department at Savannah College of Art and Design. She received her BFA in ceramics and painting from the University of Montevallo in Alabama and started using fabric in her artwork over seven years ago. She has been a Savannah resident for six years and will be graduating this fall.

Her work has been shown internationally at galleries and craft fairs throughout the United States. She has been featured on HGTV’s That’s Clever!. Her work was published in the [2010] book 1000 Artisan Textiles from Quarry Books, and her artwork will soon be featured in another publication about stitched stories to be released by Lark Books.

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