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Exhibitions: Past


Works by Cristin Searles

January 22 – February, 2009

Snowblind Snowblind Snowblind Snowblind Snowblind Snowblind Snowblind Snowblind Snowblind Snowblind

Cristin Searles is a sculptor and makes works that reflect her interests in textiles and sewing. As a student at the School of Visual Arts in New York City she began working at the studio of costume designer Martin Izquierdo, and it was there she came to know that fabric construction was the perfect vehicle for creating her sculptural work. "Working with fabric meant craft and function, not fine art. It took some time for me to realize that fabric was also the ideal material for my sculptural work."

With the excitement of a botanist and dedication of a scientist she observes and explores. Her work owes much to the joyous moment of discovery and even more to the wondrous labor of creation. Of her works she says, "They have sense of humor, are flirty, sexy, playful . . . they are about beauty, care, delicacy, joy, handiwork, skin, sensuality, and space."

She works primarily in organza "because the fabric is transparent enough that I can work with it in a painterly way, blending colors by overlapping and cutting away to reveal a purer color beneath. It's also so light that I can make sculptural objects with stitched ribs that won't collapse under their own weight. The work is very minimal despite the embellishments of glass beads and sequins."

Ethereal is more like it. Searles works often feel weightless, susceptible to the slightest shift in the air, hovering, aflutter. Each piece is an examination, a form of meta-knowledge in which fabrics, beading, millinery supplies, and other sewing materials are manipulated in such a way to encourage us to re-examine that which is around us all the time while delicately propelling us to rethink our notions about crafting, beading, felting. Her works most often are composed of numerous smaller elements. These individual elements may take months to create and often with many hands involved in the construction. Searles writes, "Each piece is made with the care of a couture garment, yet the traditional piecework of quilt construction lingers in the periphery."

Kathleen Hancock

The Artist

Cristin Searles

Snowblind is the phenomenon of temporary blindness that occurs when the eyes are overexposed to sunlight reflected off of snow.

This site-specific work was conceived during the spring and summer of 2008, when the bright glare of the sun was not magnified by snow, but rather sand and sea; when steaming concrete and the white hot heat of summer were suffocating me in my airless 4th floor studio. At that time the colorless, frozen environment of January 2009 was impossible to imagine.

But between the two extremes lie this work; the white, quiet, serene landscape of icy stillness, and a burgeoning outcropping of organisms stirring, multiplying, camouflaged but for trace amounts of hot color. Fragile, brittle, soft, ethereal breathing forms.

Clarity of form and space…suspension of time…evaporation…hibernation…these works are either mummified, at the end of their life cycle, or thawing to begin it.

This is the first time I have worked all in white. It is the pensive, breathy, filmy feeling that I am attracted to…the crackle of nostril hairs in frigid air, the sticky skin of a bug eye in spring.


Cristin Searles holds a BA in Studio Art with Honors, from Hamilton College, Clinton, NY, and an MFA in Sculpture from the School of Visual Arts, New York, NY. Recent exhibitions include New Work, Bannister Gallery, Rhode Island College, Providence, RI, 2006; 3-D Rhode Island: Selections of Contemporary Sculpture, Newport Art Museum, Newport, RI, curated by Nancy Grinnell, 2004; Fabric of Light: Nina Cinelli, Cristin Searles, Esther Solondz & Cynthia Treen, David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University, Providence, RI, 2004; Women in the Visual Arts, Installed at Perishable Theatre, Providence, RI, curated by Gallery Agniel, 2001. She lives and works in Providence.llery, Narrows Art Center, Fall River, MA; and M.F.A. but no J.O.B., Cloyde Snook Gallery at Adams State University, Alamosa, Colorado 2011.