Collage Work on Linen

Having sewn all her life, working with textiles became a natural extension of Kaman’s art. In 2015, while looking for a way to create work that could travel easily with her, she began to play combining fabrics and paper. She approached the work in the same way as her painting, to create a space that would allow for iconic images to be presented as symbols and metaphors of human life. In the early work, she drew inspiration from the color blocks of Mark Rothko as well as Asian hanging scrolls for presentation. 

The variation between fabrics, threads and textures made for an infinite palette. She began to incorporate old monoprints, old clothes, maps, ticket stubs, anything she had saved over the years for memories. Because of the personal elements within the work, each piece could then be interpreted biographically as places that she had visited or as references to home, family and mythology. The play between design, pattern, collage and color is key to this work.

By sewing, weaving and blending the materials and images, a story is often told, to be unraveled in each viewer’s participation. There is a reflection of what is shared in the world, of a unity between cultures and races.

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Hand Built

Kaman began to explore the difference between sewing with the machine versus the slow process of building the artwork by hand sewing. She found that the slower process allowed for  a completely different kind of construction, that the piece evolved as it was created in a much more structural way. Rather than approaching the work from the idea of sewing pieces sewn on top of a base of fabric, this work evolved from stitching pieces together. By hand-sewing each piece of fabric to the next, the artworks became more like making puzzles, almost a game to find what works together toward an unseen end. There is less of a narrative story and more of a graphic quality that comes about as well, letting the materials be the star of the show.

These works are often presented very simply on the wall without frame or support, to emphasize their structural presence.

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Shapes

As a natural progression from the Hand Built work, the idea of losing the rectangle format became obvious. Abandoning this restriction allowed for circular and odd-shaped pieces to take form, with eventual forays into a 3-D format that shed additional constraints. Some of the works are two-sided and are hung from the ceiling to be observed from both sides. Other non-rectangular 3-D works continue to use the wall as a base, but their particular combinations of overlapping paper and fabric enable them to be hung in various combinations. 

There is a great sense of fun and freedom within this work, where humor is allowed to thrive.

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SMALL WORKS

Kaman’s small works differ from the larger works in that they are often stretched, presented as little paintings using fabric, paper, paint and thread. Sometimes they are done in a series, exploring a simple format over and over with different materials and colors. More often than not, they all reference nature and are more representative than the larger works.

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Earth Series

Each piece in the Earth Series is a simplified abstraction of nature’s essential elements.  These works play with basic forms, fabrics and colors to present meditations on water, sky, sun and flowers.

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Earth Suite 2016

Maps

The Maps Series began with the idea of confusing our sense of place and our idea of universality. Kaman tore up maps she collected over the years from her many travels and then sewed them back together, jumbling them up to make new non-existent places.  An imaginary world takes shape instead, with new oceans or land masses, or city grids turned upside down.

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Winter Series 2021