Tuesday, April 24, 2018


This is Jean Shin's wonderful installation currently at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which I am glad to have seen today.  "Worn Soles" creates a pattern on the floor."Hide," hanging from the ceiling, is meticulously stitched together from the uppers of the soles on the floor:

I was reminded of the Willie Cole exhibit I saw last June at the Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania:

 He works extensively with shoes - truckloads of them.  This one is called "Order":

 I love his fanciful shoe sculptures:

Mr. Cole has many fascinating videos on YouTube talking about his work.

Then there is Chiharu Shiota, whose installation I saw at the Sackler Gallery in Washington D.C. in 2015:

She had people write write notes that told stories about each particular shoe.  The note attached to the sneaker below says (translated from the Japanese):  "The time they were worn: November 2005 to October 2007. Place: from my home to my work place and the pilgrimage of Shikoku’s 33 temples. The memory: These were familiar shoes. When it rained, water went into the shoes. At the end of the life of the shoes, I wore them only when it was nice out. When I did the Western pilgrimage of the 33 temples they served my purpose very well. In addition, every time I went out running, the laces became loose." 

Each of these three artists is quite different; each makes use of shoes in their own unique way.  What they have in common is being touched by the life of ordinary everyday objects and the stories they tell about the people who previously wore them.  They make art out of objects touched by human sweat.

Shoes have played a role in my own work as well, and I gather them at thrift shops and garage sales whenever particular ones catch my eye.  This piece  makes use of a sneaker that had been my father's.