Isabel Yellin

Skin and Bone 5, 2015

Acrylic, Chiffon, Digital Print on Silk, Mesh, PVC leatherette, rigilene

220 × 10 × 130 cm


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Artwork
Description

Isabel Yellin’s new works Skin and Bone 4 and Skin and Bone 5 exhibit an intense knowledge and understanding of the intricacies of the materials she works with. Fundamental ideas from past works are maintained in Skin and Bone. Yellin continues to explore the human, feminine relationship with textiles. They are are integral to her practice, as the medium through which she instils her art with a familiar, yet evocative domesticity. However, in a stylistic departure from the earlier pieces featuring soft, undulating fabrics of silk and chiffon in subdued, pastel tones, the new series replaces them with voluptuous and lecherous garments. The once demure debutante gowns craving to be worn by their owner have now become formidable, brawny dominatrixes, instilled with boldness and vitality. Skin and Bone 5 is veritably bursting off the wall; it appears as though there is a body inside, exploding from the seams. Featuring black and pink chiffon, and hand printed silk, these fragments function as memories of past works, harking back to Yellin’s ouevre, showing that past explorations have not entirely dissipated.

There is also a notable shift in palette, testament to the importance colour plays in reflecting emotion. Monochrome has superseded pastels, distancing the artist from the stability and comfort offered by a tonal gamut. Meaning is conveyed through black and white; the works are potently decisive. The structural curves present in both pieces have been achieved through the use of boning coils, also known as ‘rigilene’ – a critical material in the manufacture of corsets. The production of this antiquated accessory is embedded into the very structure of the piece, and proffers comment into the status of women in history. Yet there is an inherent, and overarching strength in the pieces which sees connotations of female subjugation sidelined in favour of a more positive commentary. In combination with the use of PVC leatherette, a textile with overtones of sadism and masochism, Yellin explores themes of independence and fulfilment. Yellin has a fascination with the nature of some fetishes, such as latex or gimpsuits. She considers the paradox of how being physically restricted by a material, and its proximity to the skin, can be responsible for a person’s sexual liberation and gratification. The Skin and Bone series is delicately loaded; imbued with the same contradictions the creator is drawn to, the works are immensely poignant pieces of structural and thematic dexterity.

About
the artist

Isabel Yellin (b. 1987 in New York City) received her Master’s in Painting from the Royal College of Arts, London, in 2014.

Isabel Yellin’s combinative works bear traces of complex personal histories. Constructed by superimposing and sewing together layers of distressed fabric the artist handpicked herself, they are highly tactile, their undulating folds soft and yielding. Muted colours harmonise with thin, acquiescent material. Her work is simultaneously sensory and sensitive, corporeally suggestive of interior spaces and domesticity.

The materials are key to Yellin’s practice: they are the medium through which she imbues everyday experiences in art with familiar connotations. The use of textile is particularly crucial in its evocative power. Clothes are something we deal with constantly – they are a second skin, a way we define our personality and present ourselves to others. Yellin combines these contrasting textures, loaded with uncanny memories, in compositions of fabric, ropes, acrylic paints, chains, hooks and scraps. The works, loosely hung on the wall as if on a clothesline, fold and drape out. Positioned on the thin line between painting and sculpture, they create an environment suggestive of a fascinating yet discomforting domesticity. Yellin explained to Fisk Frisk Magazine: "I am drawn to materials that either immediately trigger an attraction or a repulsion, both personally and universally. Fabric is loaded with connotations and innuendos. … Having this range of fabrics and materials on top of each other pokes at our inherent notions of taste and class that have a direct effect on our experience of the world".

The tactility of Yellin’s works relates to what she defines as the ‘liquidness’ and ‘transparency’ of modern life. Our daily existence takes place more and more online, in a digital environment characteriSed by a multi-faceted perception of our identity and place in the world. Yellin’s layered fabrics embody the complex and immaterial nature of our virtual experience in the form of tangible, highly suggestive art objects.


Isabel Yellin’s combinative works bear traces of complex personal histories. Constructed by superimposing and sewing together layers of distressed fabric the artist handpicked herself, they are highly tactile, their undulating folds soft and yielding. Muted colours harmonise with thin, acquiescent material. Her work is simultaneously sensory and sensitive, corporeally suggestive of interior spaces and domesticity.

The materials are key to Yellin’s practice: they are the medium through which she imbues everyday experiences in art with familiar connotations. The use of textile is particularly crucial in its evocative power. Clothes are something we deal with constantly – they are a second skin, a way we define our personality and present ourselves to others.


Isabel Yellin
on Artuner

Part of the
exhibition

May 13th, 2015 until
July 21st, 2015
Curated by Eugenio Re Rebaudengo