'ars domestica: a mending of the soul' at Susan Hensel Gallery

'ars domestica: a mending of the soul' at Susan Hensel Gallery

There is a simplicity in the torn clothing and textile scraps that Libbie Soffer uses to create her artwork. Old clothes hang in various states of planned disrepair, some reduced to only seams; they are outlines of their former state. She plucks pockets out of pants and displays them for what they have become over time. After years of wear, they are no longer simple white squares, but patched, discolored, and torn bits of fabric.

Soffer knows these pieces have stories behind them, though. And so, through old-school visions of domesticity, she invites us to reflect on our own memories. For her upcoming show "ars domestica: a mending of the soul," Soffer revisits the thriftiness and green values that our grandparents had before the modern concept of green we know today.

'ars domestica: a mending of the soul' at Susan Hensel Gallery

Soffer's exhibition also focuses on women, exploring the traditional roles of women in their work and in their personal lives, as well as the values of handwork. Soffer is also a self-proclaimed treasure hunter. Her favorite finds are discarded hand-written notes that she finds while out and about.

To get the stories flowing, Soffer is hosting an interactive installation featuring a series of mending circles to supplement the experience of viewing her exhibition. Visitors are encouraged to bring worn, threadbare clothing for mending from noon to 5 p.m. on May 6, 9, 16, 17, and 23.

"ars domestica: a mending of the soul" will be on display through May 28. There will be an opening reception on Friday, May 13 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Susan Hensel Gallery (3441 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis). On Friday, May 20 there will be a Mending Circle Soiree led by special guest Carolyn Halliday.

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