Leah Virsik

Art + Design

  • Apart at the Seams, 2020, jean seams, Singer sewing machine and table, 41 x 36 x 22 inches

  • top row: Eye Level, 2020, 100 jean flies, linen thread, 177 x 10¼ x 1 inches bottom row: Eye Level of an Average Six Year Old Boy, 2020, 100 jean flies, metal pendant on chain, linen thread, 176 x 9 x 1 inches

  • Eye Level (detail), 2020, 100 jean flies, linen thread, 177 x 10¼ x 1 inches

  • Balled Up, 2020, jeans, chairs, hardware

  • All Together Now 05, 2020, jean remnants, thread

  • All Together Now 09, 2020, jean remnants, thread

  • All Together Now 08, 2020, jean remnants, thread

  • All Together Now 04, 2020, jean remnants, thread

  • All Together Now 03, 2020, jean remnants, thread

  • All Together Now 02, 2020, jean remnants, thread

  • All Together Now 01, 2020, jean remnants, thread

  • Leah Virsik in her studio. Photo: Laura Van Duren

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2020, Above and Below

2020
exhibitions

The Japanese word for cut, kire, is more connected to aesthetics than its English counterpart. The aim of cutting is to create ma, a word that roughly translates as negative space or betweenness. Jeans, made of cotton and indigo, are deeply rooted in slavery. Through an act of unmaking, I use Japanese shears to dissect and strip (kire) the functionality of clothing, focusing on the material’s meaning. This work speaks of my own complicity in systemic racial injustice. I expose seams from below the surface, cut and assemble individual flies, and roll up balls of jean strips. No longer a castoff, this material is imbued with potentiality and through my process of close examination (ma), it remakes me.

25% of the artist’s proceeds will go to the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and the Equal Justice Initiative.