Artist: Mimi Haddon
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
Mimi Haddon graduated in 1994 from California State University of Long Beach with a bachelor of fine arts degree in graphic design. Now, she is back at CSULB for her MFA degree in fiber arts. In this course, she explores materials, like natural or synthetic fiber, media such as yarns, t-shirt threads and also methods like dyeing and stitching.
While observing Haddon’s artwork, I immediately noticed her use of different t-shirts and fabrics. These artworks were stitched together to form unique creations and even pasted to the wall to create an alignment of colored t-shirts. Her process with this exhibit started with purchasing 300 t-shirts from Goodwill. Moreover, Haddon explains that the use of t-shirts as media for her art is a commentary on our society that discards and waste products after just one or two uses. With that being said, using these kinds of materials for art give them a new purpose that creates better meaning and artistry. As a photographer, Haddon uses her past knowledge in her artworks as well. For instance, when she was a photographer, she would look at the clothing she would photograph as a costume that would tell stories. On the other hand, as an artist in this exhibition, she states her artworks is like the costume in a room that tells its own stories through its unique color and formations.
Haddon stated that her work with T- Shirts began over a year and a half ago. She draws inspiration from indigenous culture, which uses unique materials and techniques like braiding, weaving, and knotting. This influence can be easily seen through her artworks as they are mostly hand stitched and woven together. Another inspiration that helped her with this exhibition was her interest with the color theory. The color theory encompasses the idea of color harmony and the context of how colors are utilized. Haddon’s work definitely shows this idea as her art work portrays interactions between different colors. In fact, one of her piece in the floor was colorful t-shirts stitched together to create a pattern, which looked like the map of the United States of America. After thinking about it, I realized this symbolized the different cultures and ethnicities that create America. Furthermore, this relates to Haddon’s media of t-shirts since this media comes from all over the world. For example, the fabric can be from a different country from where the fabric will be dyed or where it will be sold. T-shirts itself is a representation of the diversity and the colorful process of Haddon’s work.
After interviewing Haddon and observing her exhibit, I felt some kind of resemblance to her pieces. Although she uses warm colors in her exhibit, Haddon’s art piece in the wall resembled deflated balloons. It’s extremely ironic that the warm colors and balloons that symbolize joy and happiness, can be portrayed as deflated and lonely. I appreciated this exhibit because of its own unique twist on colors and its interaction between colors that truly compels the audience to think about what they are supposed to be or represent.