Cut & Reassembled, Softly...Brightly
Cut & Reassembled, Softly...Brightly is a meditation on the in-between; being neither one or the other, but recognizing the soundness in the hybridity and complexity of being. Patchwork is implemented as a healing process to release the artist from the confines of identity, tradition, and correctness. Laura Kung’s own dual cultural hybridity, American by place and Chinese-Taiwanese by heritage, are represented by cutting and piecing together an illuminated sculpture of redefined landscapes. The surface undulates from a two-dimensional form and block pattern of traditional American patchwork into the third dimension with cascading curves and protruding rectangular platforms; punctured with transparent windows as an invitation to see through and within. Black patches of strokes, a reference to Chinese calligraphy, break free of the systematic grid and converse on one side with painter's canvas, revealing a harmonious struggle between light and dark. The opposing side, a collage of naturally dyed neutrals, paints a softer and more translucent landscape. Hidden script written in red ink on the backside, only visible through the inner illumination, and layered with hand stitching, serves as a cathartic confrontation of how the artist redefines being both American and not American. Fabric cuttings and scraps were salvaged, collected, and rejuvenated through natural dyeing processes: using madder, logwood, cutch, marigold, cochineal and food waste such as avocado pits and yellow onion skins, to yield a naturally cohesive color palette. A bundle dye method of wrapping dyestuffs in the fabric and then steaming or boiling, allows the artist to create painterly, cosmic atmospheres that cannot be replicated again. The artist practices deliberately slow methods that counter antiquated industrial standards of perfection to evoke contemplation, a sense of well-being, and balance.
Laura Kung works in between design and art using textiles as a medium and introspective tool. After graduating from Cornell University in Fiber Science & Apparel Design, she worked as a designer for Zero + Maria Cornejo for seven years, leading color and fabric development as well at the footwear collections. She has also designed costumes for opera and theatre productions. Kung is currently pursuing her MFA in Textiles at Parsons School of Design in New York.