Relief Beyond Ground

As hand-stitched lines appear and disappear and tufted contours cast shifting shadows, this curation of monochromatic pieces explores movement through subtle marks and shallow planes.

By Aaron Chung

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Depth Through the Senses

Uniting works from the past five series in their Atelier Collection, Merida exhibits textiles that examine the theme of textural depth and perception.

As hand-stitched lines appear and disappear, and tufted contours cast shifting shadows, the monochromatic pieces of woven layers explore movement through subtle marks and shallow planes.

With the vision of their artistic director Sylvie Johnson, Merida blends various natural yarns and inspirations from art history to highlight the motifs composed of raised reliefs. Merida investigates topographical nuance as a means of engaging the visual and physical senses that reach beyond the ground.

In relief, I think of the protrusion in sculpture and the release of pressure, particularly the expectations surrounding how art and our rugs are perceived.

Aaron Chung, Gallery Manager

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In the spirit of probing this figurative boundary within art, I began looking at the relationship of frames within these textiles. Whether a piece is on a pedestal or framed behind glass, how a work exists in its surroundings can shift depending on its presentation.

Aaron Chung, Gallery Manager

Reflecting itself and each other’s contours, Ray and Frammento are displayed next to each other to reveal unique plied yarns and layered geometry. Their use of rectangular and circular motifs not only speaks within the works’ frame but also connects them to the neighboring pieces. Ray and Framennto’s colors, Luna and Mica, also reflect a complementary color scheme to allow the pieces to further connect with their surroundings.


Bund by Sylvie Johnson for Merida with bench by Pierre Chapo

Nobody sees a flower, really; it is so small. We haven't the time, and to see takes time — like to have a friend takes time.

Georgia O'Keeffe, Painter

The Magnetism of Color

With these primary colors, these higher chroma moments encouraged visitors to move through the different sections of the gallery, wandering from one zone to the next, encountering intriguing and dynamic forms on the floor and walls.

Pink, yellow, and blue hues are purposely set at opposite ends of the gallery. In contrast, neutral colors with various textures are set in between to welcome curious onlookers to walk through the entire space and feel each relief effect throughout the exhibition.

The curation of the exhibition focuses on color, texture, scale, and transition. With each section, every piece opens an experience different from the next, while the color, yarn applications, and visual language tie them together.

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Positioned at the gallery’s entrance and highlighting the Gauje colorway, Portale is the first rug one encounters when exploring Relief Beyond Ground. Displaying organic shapes of various yarn compositions and pile heights, this dynamic piece welcomes visitors to walk on and explore the exhibition’s major theme–texture and topography.

Mantra is an asymmetrically designed rug and the largest piece in the exhibition. Its detailed motifs are presented through handmade inserts and illustrate saturated and subdued hues stemming from the felted and mouliné wool.

The rug invites viewers to walk and feel each looped thread while sample-sized versions of the larger rug are hung within float frames at eye level. The details revealed in each framed piece exhibit the unique surface qualities each yarn has to offer. This installation also provides a visual and physical experience that connects pieces presented on the floor and walls.

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Displayed as a solo piece and in the landscape orientation, Bund was hung with the notion of what defines a painting or an installation and how Merida’s textiles fit in this conversation.

Bund presents a dynamic design where each undulating band rises and dips to the work’s outer edge. Its abstract pattern and orientation open the work to be interpreted as a plein-air painting or a piece beyond a traditional rug.

To encourage multiple perspectives, a Pierre Chapo bench was installed to create an intimate environment for people to sit and explore Bund through an alternative vantage point.

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