Artist: Caryn Aasness
Exhibition: TO CALL IT CUTE IS TO MISUNDERSTAND
Gallery: Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery
Ms. Aasness is an undergraduate senior pursuing her BFA in Fibers. Her exhibition showcases the fabric she works extremely hard to make. Once she graduates, she looks forward to possibly designing wallpapers and textiles.
As I walked into the gallery, the bright pieces of fabric that were hung up illuminated the room with their vibrant colors and patterns. Each piece had a hidden message next to it on a piece of grid paper. In order to decode the hidden message, the columns were read vertically. Each color on the fabric represents a different letter, which matched up with a column on the grid. However, the only fabric that did not have a hidden message, had a message on the fabric itself that reads, ‘TO CALL IT CUTE IS TO MISUNDERSTAND.’
Caryn Aasness informed us that she uses her art to challenge the social norms in the country. She encourages her audience to look at art with the intent of finding a hidden message and that art is more than just “cute,” because artists use their art as their platform to explore deep concepts and ideas. She compared her fabrics to America and said that social norms are embedded onto us once we’re born and there are certain behaviors and expectations that society has from the moment a person is born and that it is weaved into society as norms. However, when we sit and observe and dig deeper, we see hidden messages and are able to dissect and challenge these norms.
It took me a little while for me to figure out how to decode the hidden messages and to tell you the truth, sometimes I didn’t understand what it had to do with the question it was asking. But, I did think it was a very neat idea to have and showcase the fabric. I took sociology last semester and the professor encouraged us to challenge society’s norms and it helped me see the world differently. The fact that she uses her fabric as a literal metaphor is so impressive and I love how it makes you think about what she is trying to tell you through her artwork. It really engages the audience if you stare at it enough to decode the hidden messages, it was fun to read each hidden message that each piece held.