A double pun centers this show: “fringe” might describe an element of fashion ubiquitous to western attire, or else describe something that occurs at the periphery, the edge of a movement. The material itself is indeed found in this group show at Denny Dimin Gallery—along with quilts, crystals, ribbon, cut paper, and more. But the alternate definition applies as well. With a dozen artists on view, “Fringe” documents the contemporary resurgence of interest in the 1970s Pattern and Decoration art movement, including its emphasis on handicraft, femininity, and domesticity.
If Natalie Baxter’s hexagon-tiled, bikini-baring, and yes, fringed, Housecoat III (2021), visible from the street like a window display, lures one in, Cynthia Carlson’s More Alarming Rumors (2021) will keep them hooked. Made of five overlapping canvases, only one of them rectangular, it picks up the bright pinks and yellow of Baxter’s housecoat, and throws in a couple more shades and textures for good measure. Made of salvaged found quilts, Baxter’s work pays homage to the housecoat her grandmother wore during the tasks and chores of care-giving, while Carlson’s canvases rupture not only the streamlined Minimalism which the Pattern and Decoration movement railed against five decades before, but also contemporary conceptions of what painting can or can’t be.
Amanda Valdez, Sweet Trouble, 2020. Embroidery, hand-dyed fabric, and fabric on canvas, 36 x 31 inches.