Multi-media fiber artist Leslie Blackmon has taken a conventional craft to a very unconventional place. She has created intricate crochet sculptures of sheep posing as American popular culture icons. Ranging from Andy Warhol to Dolly Parton, these unusual creations combine classic signifiers of their human counterparts with a unique spin on a well-loved fiber art. Her solo exhibition of this unexpected collection, Baa-merica! Icons Revisited will be in The Art League Gallery from May 5 – June 6, 2011.
Drawing inspiration from her background as a contemporary fiber artist and her fascination with popular culture, Blackmon fused the idea of using her crochet talents to create representations of American icons with her affinity for sheep, transforming this project into a whimsical retrospective of American culture. She brings diversity to the flock by drawing from different areas of culture – representatives from the realms of art, music, and commercial products include Jackson Pollock, Louis Armstrong, and Wonder Bread. “There is something for everybody in this show. I hope that visitors will appreciate aspects of the cultural landscape they might not have considered before.”
Blackmon begins her process by creating a wooden armature and building the ovine shape out of fiber fill and quilt batting. She proceeds to painstakingly crochet the “wool” of each iconic sheep, all the while keeping her envisioned outcome in mind. Each embellished sheep is finished when it is easily recognized as its pop culture counterpart.
“I want to focus on the positive and bring some fun into my art,” says Blackmon of her hopes for this exhibit. “There is a lot of negativity and polarization in current American culture; I wanted to move away from that.” In recent years, crochet has become a vehicle for surprising street art and intricate installation pieces. By using crochet, a medium pigeonholed as crafty, kitschy, and out of touch, Blackmon is creating unexpected representations of familiar icons.
Through her use of non-traditional materials, Leslie Blackmon interprets American cultural icons in an unanticipated, surprising way. She has been a member of The Art League since 2008 and is a professional member of the Crochet Guild of America. This is her first solo exhibit.