Blood, Breath, Gradient
Deconstructed t-shirts, cotton
Kimberly English connects two matrilineal dialogues – sewing and fashion – in her studio practice, and bring together the worlds of intrinsic tactile labor and the external accumulation of cloth. Through learning how textiles and garments have been made throughout history and the social, economic, and environmental dangers associated with their production, she realized her autonomy regarding what she makes is a privilege in the global context of “women’s work” which impacts the way English value clothes, and thereby the way she works. This connection forces her to assess the deeply personal effect of cloth and its universality, simultaneously.
Deconstructing garments began as a way to familiarize myself with their construction. By investigating making through unmaking, the labor of the garment’s creation is revisited. In this way, cloth becomes ubiquitous with life – not only with the life of the wearer of the garment, but its maker. Because of this, my work often refers to the woman’s body and its relationships, both public and private. There is a spectrum of critical commentary present that refers to the labor enacted by women that seems in some ways ceaseless, and in others obligatory and absurd.
By recontextualizing everyday cloth, I explore themes central to the history of women’s work, its labor force, and the local impact of a global economy – primarily through found textiles. While I use this material familiarity to highlight universal themes prevalent in the garment’s connotation, I beckon the viewer to see the object and its life anew, subverting the hegemony and history stitched into the seams of the fabric.