Woven: a special section at Frieze London links traditional influences with contemporary textile art

Hannah Mcgivern, The Art Newspaper, September 30, 2019

[Excerpt]  For the past two years, Frieze London has dedicated a special section of the fair to boundary-pushing female artists. After the sexually explicit feminism of Sex Work in 2017 and the socially engaged art of Social Work in 2018, this year’s theme might seem like a more conventional choice. Woven features eight solo gallery presentations exploring textiles, from knotted biomorphic hemp forms by India’s Mrinalini Mukherjee (brought by Nature Morte) to Bauhaus-inspired geometric compositions in silk, cotton and paper by Madagascar’s Joel Andrianomearisoa (brought by Primae Noctis).


Among the more politically charged works in Woven are the trapunto or quilted paintings made in the 1990s by the Filipino artist Pacita Abad (1946-2004), shown by debut exhibitor Silverlens Galleries from Manila at prices ranging from $60,000 to $75,000. The series draws on Abad’s experience of leaving Marcos-era Philippines for San Francisco, as well as her research into the history of US immigration. In L.A. Liberty (1992), she depicted the Statue of Liberty as a woman of colour, in tribute to the Asians, Latin Americans and Africans who followed the millions of Europeans documented at Ellis Island.