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Leah Virsik: Above and Below
August 21, 2020 - September 5, 2020free
The Japanese word for cut, kire, is more connected to aesthetics than its English counterpart. The aim of cutting is to create ma, a word that roughly translates as negative space or betweennes. Through an act of unmaking, Leah Virsik uses shears to dissect and strip the functionality of clothing focusing on the material’s meaning. Denim jeans, made of cotton and indigo, are deeply rooted in slavery and one can’t speak of clothing without acknowledging the human body. This work speaks of the artist’s complicity in systemic racial injustice. She exposes seams from below the surface, cuts and assembles individual flies, and rolls up balls of jean strips. No longer a castoff, this material is imbued with potentiality. Virsik’s process of close examination remakes her.