Bart, Harriet. Silhouette II & Silhouette III, pieces of black Arches paper sewn onto Fabriano Artistico paper, thread, 2016, and Patterns. Minneapolis: Mnemonic Press. 2016. [ with C.P. Cavafy, Clothes. ]
The book Patterns is part of a body of work developed by conceptual artist Harriet Bart that is based on portions of garment patterns. The minimal forms in blackened steel and mirrored chrome in another work by Bart, the installation Strong Silent Type (2016), explored the relation between the presence of the fragment and the absence of the whole. The work here, standing alone but made contemporaneously with Strong Silent Type, examines the contrast between garment pattern forms which are evocative of the feminine and industrial materials which are usually associated with the masculine.
Patterns also explores the idea of garments as a point of memory, a theme that runs throughout much of Bart’s work, and draws upon the prose poem “Clothes” by C.P. Cavafy, translated by Walter Kraiser:
[I]n a chest of precious ebony I will place and preserve the garments
of my life . . .
I will gaze upon the clothes and reminisce of the great feast – which
by then will be completely over.
Bart has chosen to accompany the poem with her own silhouette-like images based on Vogue and Simplicity patterns. The illustrations are arranged in four three-panel gatefolds with lines from the poem at the bottom of the central panel. The poem is also printed in its entirety after the illustrated gatefolds.
This volume features a sewn hardcover binding by Jill Jevne. It is covered in black bonded leather with topstitching at the edges suggesting a primer or workbook. A solitary small silver triangle motif, alluding to a symbol on a pattern, adorns the spine. The text and illustrations are printed on 175gsm Rives Heavyweight pages, and the text was set in Novarese & Hypatia Sans. The concept, gatefold layouts, and design were created by the artist, with additional typography and letterpress printing from polymer plates by Philip Gallo at the Hermetic Press. It is published in an edition of 26 and signed by the artist on the colophon.
Patterns is accompanied by framed works, either Silhouette II or Silhouette III, from a series of five unique works on paper. Both consist of a black pattern silhouette cut from Arches paper and sewn onto Fabriano Artistico paper with black thread.
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