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Portrait of the Artist: Kristin Mariani Frieman

Craft Work, West Loop Add comments

Chicago-based clothing designer Kristin Mariani Frieman’s new show at Spoke, “A Sample of Making,” is the artistic result of her clothing line Redshift, founded in 2000. Redshift is a line that creates its own distinct mark in the fashion world through its use of salvaged materials and found garments. Prior to starting her own clothing line, her professional experience included five years as a clothing and textile designer in New York and Milan. A graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Frieman received numerous awards, such as the Steckl Fellowship and the Lord & Taylor National Dress Design Award, for her pioneering designs. She has made her presence known as an independent designer through her collaboration with artists from other disciplines and has created garments for dance, performance and installation.

After sitting down and talking with Frieman, I found that her current artistic endeavor is a “non-performance” performance piece engaging Spoke’s visitors in her creative and constructive processes. As an in-progress piece, Frieman is constantly working to portray her creative wants through the labor of making clothing. Similar to her clothing line, “A Sample of Making” repurposes found wools and creates one-of-a-kind ready-to-wear, size-varying garments. Coming from a design background, Frieman is heavily focused on building layers with her materials. Her show is organized by fabric content (100-percent wool only because it is easier to manipulate and reshape through washing and drying) and color gradation. Her project integrates Josef Albers’ fundamental color theories and gradation studies from his book “Interaction of Color.” She references Albers and his studies to constantly remind us of the colors we see, their relationships and how we view them.

Spoke provides “A Sample of Making” with a workshop feel. Walking into the space, a visitor might feel as if they’ve entered Frieman’s own sewing workshop. This conveys a comfortable feeling that Frieman uses to entice her guests through the doors. By actively working in the gallery she allows viewers to participate in her operations. The extremely personable and pedagogic Frieman invites viewers to assist her in the creative process and welcomes mixed opinions and suggestions. She also allows visitors to make something of their own, and to keep it if they choose. Frieman’s future plans are focused on her couture label Redshift, but this tryst into the gallery scene suits her well. (Marissa Innocenzi)

Through November 21 at Spoke, 119 N. Peoria. Closing reception: November 21, 6pm-9pm.

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