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Luam Melake at Parker Gallery


There are only a couple more weeks to catch Luam Melake’s “Sensitive Forms” at Parker Gallery. The solo show hangs in the gallery’s small upstairs gallery and features several weavings and a modular furniture set. The furniture, titled “Better Together,” is made with wood, acrylics, and polyurethane that can be arranged in a variety of ways, encouraging reconfiguration and experimentation. Melake’s weavings also bend the medium to new experimental ends.

In “Outpouring,” the artist weaves long rubber tubes, whose fronds hang down on either side of the woven edge — their tips dappled in splashes of springy colors. In “Talismanic Quilt” several of the artist’s personal belongings are encased in plastic before being lumpily woven into a black warp. Here again, the loom is used as a connective mechanism rather than a means to an end. These woven bits are then quilted with pieces of old clothing and cloth, together creating a dimensional surface that feels at once hasty and intensely specific. The works stretch the genre of craft beyond its often limiting borders to refreshingly reimagine how traditional processes can be retooled to new sculptural ends.

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Photo: Luam Melake, “Talismanic Quilt,” 2020. Personal objects and clothing, plastic packaging, latex, twine, nylon threads, jute fabric and leather, 36 ½ x 54 x 2 ½ inches. Photo: Paul Salveson.