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Lindsay Chandler’s landfills at Cafe Lift


Cafe Lift, a place with good food and coffee in the no-man’s-land two blocks west of the Vox building, also shows some art. Two recent shows there make me want to go back for more.

Lindsay Chandler, Central Landfill, Providence, R.I.

I looked at Lindsay Chandler‘s fiber exhibit there after visiting the work online. The online images, although accurate, didn’t quite capture what I saw when I got there. My first visit to Cafe Lift was at the tail end of Sarah Moore’s show, which made me explore how her landscape photos were different from what seems like a relentless onslought of photographic landscapes out there. This post is about Chandler’s work.

Chandler’s fiber art is beautiful. The colors are voluptuous and tactile. And she’s not afraid to mix in some paint and silicone gel where it’s called for.

Most of the pieces are framed but bare of glass, allowing the content to burst beyond the rectangle and push out from the wall. A few are woven and unframed, pinned to the wall.

Lindsay Chandler, Davis Liquid Waste, Smithfield, RI

The framed ones are juiciest, with ripped fabrics and piled-up and stuffed-in snippets looking like segments of Shinique Smith’s bales or like a baby stuffed into a pregnant belly whose skin is bursting. Davis Liquid Waste is a particularly painterly confection that drips its furled yellow stalactite past the bottom of the frame.

The pieces are named after landfills, landfills in Rhode Island in particular. Chandler, who went to Rhode Island School of Design, earned a BFA in painting (2009). So that some of these pieces look like abstract landscapes is no surprise.

My only quibble is that the beauty of these pieces overwhelms and subverts the disturbing message. Even the torn bursting belly of Central Landfill brought to my mind the torn fabric and holes of contemporary fashion. Yet these pieces reminded me of the way Sheila Hicks revels in her fiber creations, daring naysayers to recognize something powerful and very female.

Cafe Lift
428 North 13th Street | Philadelphia, PA 19123
through July 2011

She is also in a group show at Arts Street Textile Studio, founded by Kathryn Pannepacker and Leslie Sudock:
You are Here
Arts Street Textile Studio
706 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147
to Sept. 15, 2011