Review: Ruth Laskey’s “Twill Series” Showcases the Art of Weaving

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“Twill Series (Aggregate 1)” by Ruth Laskey, 2021. Hand woven and dyed linen. Photo: courtesy report 3

Twill is one of the simpler weaving methods, its diagonal grid pattern is formed by passing the weft thread over and under the warp in an alternating sequence. Widely used in textile production, you’ve probably seen the diagonal twill lines on your denim jeans. In a low-key exhibition of her minimal artwork, on display at Ratio 3 through Friday, July 24, San Francisco artist Ruth Laskey presents the results of three productive years of formal experimentation with weaving in her work in progress. , “Twill Series”.

Here, Laskey uses a deceptively simple technique in creating works of art that blur the distinctions between traditional brand-making methods, such as collage, drawing, and painting. Divided into three sections chronologically and stylistically, this is a slowly walkable exhibit to take a close look at Laskey’s process-oriented works of art.

“Twill Series (Aggregate 3)” by Ruth Laskey, 2021. Hand woven and dyed linen. Photo: courtesy report 3

Laskey uses a meticulous method to construct his images: mixing his dyes by hand, painting individual threads, and then weaving the works on a manual loom. To produce the colorful checkered squares that make up her organic and geometric shapes, the artist must account for each movement of the shuttle through the loom as the threads change color. Essentially, Laskey paints with thread, each vibrant shape emerging from the natural pale linen as she descends the loom to create her works. The results are presented modestly, with the full linen weave mounted on a neutral backing panel of the same tone and framed.

In the first section of the exhibition, Laskey’s seven compositions are organic fields of color, pressed against each other in the center of the linen weave. All titled “Twill Series (Aggregate)” and dated 2021, the glazed masses resemble continents or geographic shapes rendered in brilliant pastels. Visually, these works are disguised as torn paper glued to a cream background, with the clean lines of each colored landmass abutting, without bleeding, in the next.

“Serie Twill (Verdigris / Chartreuse)” by Ruth Laskey, 2020. Hand-woven and dyed linen. Photo: courtesy report 3

If one reads these early works as collages, then Laskey’s weavings in the final gallery, all dated 2019, can more accurately be described as drawings. Here, energetic lines move around the plane of the image, punctuated by geometric shapes at the ends.

The works in the second gallery are the strongest in the exhibition. In the nine pieces here, Laskey’s shapes are geometric shapes resembling vessels or urns. As you approach closely to look at one of these works, like the “Twill Series (Verdigris / Chartreuse)” of 2020, you can see the blue-green dyed threads gradually darkening from top to bottom. Here is the artist in his most meticulous form, carefully planning the movement of the shuttle on the loom to produce the gradient effect.

“Twill Series (Gray Blue)” by Ruth Laskey, 2010. Hand woven and dyed linen. Photo: courtesy report 3

Laskey’s early similar works with color gradients, like the 2010 “Twill Series (Blue Gray)”, have softer lines and play with optics and perception in the manner of artists like Robert Irwin. These more recent works, however, with their harsher edges and more recognizable shapes, have the immediacy of Richard Tuttle’s painted form canvases, merging medium with substrate, figure with background.

Stripping away the supports of the inherent dimensionality of painting on canvas, or even graphite on paper, Laskey’s designs, as these works show, are anything but flat. The color gradients, meticulously hand applied to the individual threads and skillfully intertwined at the loom, add depth and volume to these geometric shapes and lines in her compositions.

“Ruth Laskey”: Visits by appointment from noon to 5 p.m. from Thursday to Saturday. Until July 24. Ratio 3, 2831A Mission St., SF 415-821-3371. ratio3.org



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