"But, I know what I am what I am what I am" (detail) image transfer on wood, 2ft x 18.75 in.

"But, I know what I am what I am what I am" (detail) image transfer on wood, 2ft x 18.75 in.

Erin Gigl


Exhibition Dates: June 6 - July 20, 2019
Opening Reception: Thursday, June 6, 6-9pm

Specialist presents Self-ish by Erin Gigl. For her first solo exhibition in Seattle, Gigl presents a series of textile wallworks and image transfers that map the tension between material culture, comfort and isolation.

Drawing on the aesthetics of America’s suburban middle class in the 80's and 90's - a time when carpeted basements allowed a safe space for dreams of wealth and contentment - Gigl’s work reveals the desperate grasping for control of a deeply insecure society. Together textiles, ceramics, foam, plastic and found objects dangle, hang-on, and loop, protectively insulating each other. Gigl’s images and objects express a self-conscious yearning for comfort induced by the shame of needing it, and the accompanying fears of indulgence or isolation that come with it. Soft sculptures and photographic transfers of patterned fabrics offer up the potential for direct material comfort, or comfort-at-a-distance via an image. Through vivid color and colliding patterns, Gigl’s work points to both the pleasures and trap of nostalgia, and charts our collective desire to intricately fashion a padded, precarious sense of control.

Erin Gigl was born outside of Chicago, Illinois and today is an artist and writer living and working in Los Angeles. She received her Masters of Fine Arts and Research with Honors from l'Ecole des Beaux-arts, Marseille, France and her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been shown solo and in group exhibitions at Actual Size Gallery, Los Angeles, Grenier du Chapitre, Cahors, France; Galerie Où Lieu d'Art Actuel, Marseille; Salon du Salon, Marseille; Galleri Uthverfa, Isafjidur, Iceland and she recently presented a performance with Dori Scherer at Glassbox Gallery in Seattle.

The Quilter

The quilter of the armourers' guild thrust his needle into the haystack.  Notwithstanding his oath of fealty, he was a firm objector of the King’s policy.  And yet here he was toiling away at these sordid death costumes that would in all probability turn red with blood and be cut back to pieces in a matter of days.

[...] e lá m'apparve, sí com’ elli appare subitamenta cosa che disvia per maraviglia tutto altro pensare [...]

[...] and there appeared to me - as can befall so suddenly a thing that drives away all other thought by wonder magical [...]

... he sought out these lines when drawn to morbid thinking.  This was no way to work for an artist of his stature. He ran the same circles as his marveled contemporaries with their enormous commissions. They focused on the major, he was a steadfast observer of the minor. He had even been commissioned by that starry-eyed fellow for his voyage across the seas.  Four large tapestries to present the splendor of their culture to the New World. Who knew? Maybe his quilts would even inspire others to take up his craft, to spread it across the seas.  Maybe they would be an inspiration for what would become a symbol of a nations’ craft. Centuries later they would take pride in their quilt making and regard it as their heritage and theirs alone.  Had he been paid? He certainly had not! He had been moonlighting as a court jester for the last weeks to get by. He didn’t mind. The jesting gave him contact with the transient and the otherworldly.  He was the floundering sprite, he acted the fool. He was considered an anomaly by his peers. A skilled craftsman keen on destroying his craft with fluky medleys of materials. His creations were like the snug little corners of childhood. He thought of his oeuvre as allegorical of itself, just as a person is self-referential. Just as a person weaves the fragmented tapestry of the self. One’s memories manifested as quilt blocks. But the tapestry is relative, it is subject to temperamental fluctuations. The artist is not a service agent, he is in himself a means to an end. His creations articles of faith.

-Sigurður Atli Sigurðsson