Artist: Caryn Aasness
Exhibition: Waste of Time / “To Call It Cute Is To Misunderstand”
Media: Yarn, Ink, Paper
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Merlino Gallery
About the Artist
Caryn Aasness is an undergraduate senior at CSULB’s School of Art. Aasness is only a semester away from receiving a BFA in Fiber Art. She began her fiber art career straight out of high school and into college. Although she is not sure what she wants to do careerwise, she is sure that she wants to pursue graduate school. Aasness stated that she does want to take some time off between school to focus on art and building her portfolio.
The exhibit displayed vibrant textiles made from yarn. All of the textiles had a checkered pattern. Although most of the textiles are all thematically the same, the color scheme differs between them all, with some being brighter and others having a duller color combination. The main textile was the only one that had wording sewn onto it which states “To call it cute is to misunderstand”. Next to the cloths, there was a grid with letters marked in a cryptic way that is there for the viewers to interpret.
Aasness wanted to explore the common cliche phrases that young individuals use, especially in elementary age. She personally does not like these phrases. She thinks they lack complexity and are not insightful. Aasness then incorporated these phrases in the grids that she had placed next to the cloths that she made. These cryptic grids had a specific way to which they had to be read, not the usual way that one would read a normal book. Furthermore, she also wished to express the complexity behind the weaving process as well. The weaving of the cloths took hours for her to make. And unfortunately as the words sewn on the cloth explain the lack of thought that viewers give the cloth. She states that many times the cloth is just seen as “cute” or “pretty” but rather the viewer does not appreciate the complexity and hard work that is put behind making such woven cloths.
Walking in I fell into the same trap that Aasness was trying to explain through her exhibition. I too instantly thought just how “pretty” these cloths were. Before I had a conversation with her regarding her work, I was simply looking at the surface and not really digging deep to understand (both the cloths and the cryptic grids). After talking to Aasness and hearing her talk about the importance of weaving and the hard work she put into each of them, I did another walk-through the exhibit, this time with an open mind willing to learn and take it all in. With a fresh perspective, the exhibit taught me that there is more than meets the eye.