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Heather MacKenzie Textile in Code


March 2022 | The Cultural Centre | Handweaving

“Cloth acts as protection, expression of individual and community identity, and its surface records our scuffles and spills. Poking at the stories and systems we take for granted, that we are embedded within, I create forms that are cheeky and disobedient, that buck linear conventions, and that often sprout useless appendages and awkward flaps.

Weaving employs algorithmic code tessellated across precise intersections of threads, layered with variables of color, material and density. A skillfully-woven cloth often retreats from our notice into the contradiction between our tacit expertise and our ignorance of its making. The twill of a police uniform. The satin of a prom dress. In its retreat lies a textile’s power to impact us on deeply emotional and intuitive levels, to tell stories and materialize logics, philosophies, and systems. I flirt with subliminal visibility, legibility and familiarity, leaning into our collective material hunger – an ache rooted in our general digital overwhelm and exacerbated by “new normals” of social distancing and the riskiness of human contact and sharing breath.

Through my research into the metric system and standardized measurement, global extractive industries, queer methodologies, and dominant systems of value and thought, I see ways we have bent ourselves to the outsourced and largely invisible systems of power and authority that mediate our lives. These systems reinforce disparities across race, gender, sexuality, class, and geography. Yet alongside these oppressive structures, I see ways that we create our own powerful systems of mutual aid, and write codes to survive and thrive.

-Heather MacKenize Artist Statement

A small sampling of

Featured Work

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Heather MacKenzie is an electrician, artist, minor philosopher, and educator with an artistic practice founded in hand weaving. She has acted as a Fulbright Scholar in Paris, France; Fountainhead Fellow at VCU in Richmond, VA; and artist-in-residence at the Icelandic Textile Center, ACRE, MASS MoCA, Cite des Arts Paris, among others. Her work has been exhibited recently at venues including Chataqua Institution, the Textile Center of Minnesota; Sediment Gallery in Richmond, VA; Heaven Gallery and Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago; and PointDom in Toulouse, France. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Fiber and Material Studies where she occasionally lectures, and her BA from Brown University.


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This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board and The Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.