Authors: Maria Davila and Eduardo Portillo
In celebration of the third annual New York Textile Month, members of the Textile Society of America will author Object of the Day for the month of September. A non-profit professional organization of scholars, educators, and artists in the field of textiles, TSA provides an international forum for the exchange and dissemination of information about textiles worldwide.
This textile, created by Junichi Arai, invites us to unfold seemingly endless layers of color. The action of opening its folds suggests a journey to the interior or reverse of the piece. Yet the back side actually has a different color story, and conveys a completely new experience.
Junichi Arai was born in Kiryu City, Gunma Prefecture, Japan. During his prolific life, he found important keys to enhance his unique vision of textiles that combine art, craft, tradition and technology. In this piece, he combines the use of dye transfer paper of many colors with the traditional shibori, or tie-dye, technique. In the plain weave foundation, the polyester warps are striped in an uneven sequence, and the wefts are metallic slit film. The metallic is reserved inside the tied areas and otherwise melted off, a technique he developed and explored in other works, including Reflecting Well from 2003, also in the museum’s collection. The gathers are heat-set, untied, randomly pleated, and transfer printed.
This work touches the senses and provokes us to reflect about the author and the object, giving us confidence in the capability of humankind to transform its reality through knowledge and creativity. Arai opened the doors of the infinite, the universe of possible things, unfolding new spaces. He departed to other worlds one year ago today.
Maria Davila and Eduardo Portillo are textile artists who live and work in Merida, in the Venezuelan Andes. In 2017, they were Smithsonian Artist Research Fellows.