Torn T-shirt artused to explore impacts of consumption

WE'VE ALL worn them. No matter how dressy or formal our wardrobes may be, each one of us has donned a T-shirt at one time or another. It's an item of clothing that's comfortable, practical and ubiquitous.

And it's one sarah Kolar transforms into an artistic medium that deftly examines the relationship between commodity and consumption in "Produce, Consume, discard," opening this weekend at the Nebraska arts Council's Fred simon gallery.

The exhibition features framed and standalone pieces composed of T-shirt remnants that Kolar has twisted, layered, woven and worked into compositions that address how and what we consume and what the longer-lasting impacts of those actions are.

Kolar chooses to work with T-shirts, because they are strong, durable and relatively inexpensive, which makes them a popular choice for consumers. "I create work that draws the viewer to consider the original process involved in knitting the shirt," said Kolar, who usually opts to work with white T-shirts because they show the most evidence of being worn, stained and washed, actions that in turn point to a history of usage by previous owners.

"I often think about T-shirts as products that we use or see on a daily basis," she added. "I've found they speak to a wide variety of audiences. We all engage with them — and we can all relate to them. A T-shirt is an almost obligatory item in our lives."

Through her complex pieces, Kolar intends for viewers to consider the processes and efforts that have gone into her work to provide a similar context for the production of their own belongings.

"It's about consuming items and extending their value," she said. Kolar sources most of her T-shirts from thrift stores, but doesn't mind the cost. "I need such a large amount, I just view it as my 'paint' cost," she said. The public is invited to bring old T-shirts to the gallery during the opening reception for Kolar to incorporate into future works.

"I would like viewers to make a connection to the materials and the processes involved in the production and consumption, she said. "I do think if people are involved with the objects, they put a little more thought into them." Fred Simon Gallery, 1004 Farnam st. "sarah Kolar: Produce, Consume, discard." Opening reception: 5 to 7 p.m. Friday. Through Oct. 4. gallery hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. admission: free. artscouncil.nebraska.gov or 402-595-2122.

KIM CARPENTER

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