'Ancestors/Descendants' explores world of child's play

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‘Ancestors/Descendants’ explores world of child’s play

Detail of "Ancestors 1" by Jason Pollen
Courtesy photo
Detail of "Ancestors 1" by Jason Pollen

The exhibition “Ancestors/Descendants,” featuring recent work by Kansas City-based fiber artist Jason Pollen, runs Feb. 2 through March 23 at the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The artist will speak about his exhibition at 5:15 p.m. Feb. 2 in the gallery, located on the second floor of the Home Economics Building, 1650 N. 35th St.

“Ancestors/Descendants” allowed Pollen to reconnect with the exuberant world of children at play. With fervor, determination and curiosity, he fashions pigments, brushes, threads and twigs into compelling dimensional constructions. Pollen hopes the assemblages convey more than the sums of their parts. The colors, textures and shifting shadows are designed to guide the viewer on a journey through the labyrinthine world of the artist’s imagination. Pollen intends his work to be thought-provoking and to communicate his fascination with and delight in child’s play.

For 20 years, Pollen was on the faculty of the Kansas City Art Institute, where from 1997-2010 he was chair of its fiber department. As president of the Surface Design Association from 1993-2009, he helped grow both a national and international constituency of makers and an audience of enthusiasts for contemporary fiber and textile art.

"Portal 1" by Jason Pollen, 2017, 30” x 22”, cotton canvas, dye pigment, thread

With undergraduate and graduate degrees from the City College of New York, Pollen entered the textile and fashion professions in the 1960s. He has designed for such brands as Jack Lenor Larsen, Liberty of London, Donna Karan, Oscar de la Renta, Yves St. Laurent, Lanvin, Hallmark and Nieman-Marcus. His creative work is included in numerous public and private collections, including the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City and the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian’s National Art Museum.

Pollen’s work has been widely exhibited nationally and internationally at such venues as the Central Museum of Textiles in Lodz, Poland; the Arte and Arte Exposition in Como, Italy; the Craft Alliance in St. Louis; and the Belger Art Center and the Leedy Gallery, both in Kansas City. In 2006, he was named a fellow of the American Craft Council. He was awarded the Penland School of Crafts’ Outstanding Artist/Educator Award in 2012.

“Creating the work included in ‘Ancestors/Descendants’ has been an emotional as well as intellectual experience for me,” Pollen said. “I’ve revisited some of the solitary activities of my childhood, like building and rebuilding elaborate sand castles, and I’ve continued to explore marks and mark-making using a range of materials from which I can fabricate cryptic ciphers and symbols. They amount to a kind of visual language that’s both personal and universal.”

The Hillestad Gallery is open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment. Admission is free. Guest parking is available near the Home Economics Building and in metered stalls in the Nebraska East Union lot. For more information, click here or call 402-472-2911.

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