Giant Coats + Abstracted Echos: The Sculpture of Jacqueline Kiyomi Gork

Great sculpture has the magical potential to deconstruct and reconfigure common object relationships to allow us to re-see our daily experience with a fresh new fascination. A new exhibition by artist Jacqueline Kiyomi Gork at François Ghebaly Gallery in New York offers multiple layers of surprises, including a strange swirl of sound that is produced by your own footsteps in real time. Solutions to Common Noise Problems is on view through March 5th.

“Solutions to Common Noise Problems” installation at François Ghebaly

Sound Blanket No 14, 2022

François Ghebaly Gallery is a hidden gem of a gallery (find the welcoming entrance near the back of a wine shop). On view now is Jacqueline Kiyomi Gork’s Solutions to Common Noise Problems which contains several giant-sized “coats” made from hand-felted wool, human hair, and synthetic hair with amazing surfaces recalling storm clouds on various planets. The sculptures are part of Kiyomi Gork’s “Sound Blanket” series, which hints at the second major element in the room: sound.

Sound Blanket No 15, 2022 (detail)

Sound Blanket No 15, 2022

“Solutions to Common Noise Problems” installation at François Ghebaly

The ceiling holds multiple microphones and speakers that capture, process, and broadcast sounds of viewers in real time. But it’s not exactly what you’d expect. The artist has calibrated the software to remove frequencies of speech and music, often leaving only the shuffle of feet (or my raised hand snapping) that are abstracted into strange unexpected echos that swirl throughout the room.

In other words, the coat-resembling “sound blankets” are invisibly interacting with the sound to dampen or alter its path. It’s worth noting that the position and placement of the coats are highly intentional. So as I walked through the space to create a reasonable level of noise (with frequent stops to admire the surprisingly beautiful felt) I began to consider a deeper meaning – perhaps a larger anxiety or political/societal “noise” and a desire for the symbolic comfort of a warm oversized coat.

Sound Blanket No 10, 2022

Sound Blanket No 10, 2022 (detail)

Sound Blanket No 10, 2022 (detail)

Sound Blanket No 8, 2022

Sound Blanket No 8, 2022 (detail)

Jacqueline’s investigation of sound, material, and meaning is highly intelligent while also providing a visual treat of craftsmanship. It’s beautiful to witness.

Dive deeper and meet the artist in this 3-minute interview and studio visit that includes Jacqueline in the process of felting and their thoughts about the power of sound.

What: Jacqueline Kiyomi Gork: Solutions to Common Noise Problems
Where: François Ghebaly Gallery, 391 Grand Street, New York, NY
When: January 29 – March 5, 2022

Images courtesy the artist & François Ghebaly Gallery.