Week 11 – Artist Conversation – Caryn Aasness

Exhibit Information

Artist: Caryn Aasness

Exhibition: To Call it Cute is to Misunderstand

Media: Yarn, Paper, Ink

Gallery: Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery

Instagram: @levelyellowproblemchild

About the Artist

Caryn Aasness is what she would call a “four and half year-er,” she started her fiber journey here at CSULB directly out of high school.  She resides in Long Beach, CA and hope to eventually attend graduate school to continue her art career; however, she feels as though she does not have enough material to fulfill her portfolio and make it an outstanding one, so she’s going to take a few years off to build it up. She is someone who likes to question the reality and the essence of life’s overused and everyday quotes and she really attempts that in this exhibit.

Formal Analysis

Walking into this exhibit you felt a sort of innocence within it because it was just a bunch of yarn cloths. Then you started to look deeper and find that within each of the cloths, there was a significance to them all. There was a paper with an alphabet grid next to it and letters that corresponded to the cloth. The letters seemed like a whole bunch of gibberish before decoding the pieces after talking to Aasness. The pieces all had various beautiful colors to them, ranging from pink to green to purple and even brown that made the grid look pop. The straight edges and the detailed lines within each of the cloths showed that she took her time on it and worked very hard which is always extremely appreciative.

Content Analysis

As stated above, there were paper grids next to each of the yarn cloths and they corresponded to the cloths with different letters that were filled in. Before talking to Aasness, it was very cryptic trying to figure out what the letters stood for and how to interpret them. But then talking to her, it all made sense, she explained that you had to read the letters from top to bottom, rather than left to right. This made it all make a lot more sense.

For instance the piece above is beautiful and once you read it, you see the quotes and sayings that she is questioning. They read, “takes one to know one,” “I’m rubber you’re glue” and “I know you are but what am I” and these are elementary phrases that are not said in everyday life, but she really wanted to question the essence of them and see what their true meaning was. This was also a challenging piece for her, because she is one who is not a fan of commonly used quotes and sayings, so to go ahead and utilize them in her piece so that way she could see how she works when she is challenged with parameters that she is not used to.

Synthesis/My Experience

Personally, I really enjoyed this exhibit. I love the feeling of going inside and not knowing exactly what’s going on until you look deeper and try to decode the different pieces that are in the exhibit and that is exactly what it was like walking into this one. I walked in and was just intrigued by the fascinating yarn work and then when I learned about the pieces and how they had hidden, somewhat cryptic, messages lying within them, it got me hooked so much more. After learning about the messages hidden in them, I was really excited to identify each of them and see which ones she used.


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