Fiber artist exhibits unique works at First Coast Cultural Center


The First Coast Cultural Center’s newest exhibit features the work of textile artist Jessica Pinsky, who is making a name for herself in a medium that deserves greater attention in the art world.

“It’s a really, really niche thing,” she said during an opening reception Tuesday, May 21. “I like being a big fish in a small pond.”

Pinsky makes weavings on a floor loom, but her art goes far beyond producing patterns or even images.

Her work is abstract in a way that invites the viewer to ponder the meaning behind each of the pieces, the details of which are unquestionably intentional. One is immediately struck by bold decisions to allow specific portions to “droop” in contrast to areas of tighter weave. The artist’s choices regarding color, material, size and shape add to the overall effect.

Pinsky said the works are very personal.

“They’re actually about issues that tend to be really hard to talk about, like difficulty getting pregnant, the crazy time that women have navigating early motherhood and stuff like that,” she said. “I think just traditionally women are told that lots of those topics are very taboo, so it’s nice to be able to talk about them through art.”

Some of her pieces exhibit a greater level of accessibility, such as those in her “Birth Experience” series. The overall effect transcends whatever specifics are personal to the artist and connects with a more universal experience, especially among women.

In the First Coast Cultural Center exhibit, Pinsky is showing large black-and-white works, a series of unique pieces measuring 10-by-10 inches and weavings based upon art originally produced by her children.

For the latter, she selected two of her daughter’s paintings to reproduce on the loom.

“I’m fascinated by her because, like kids in general, they just can make so many decisions; they don’t second-guess themselves,” Pinsky said. “Grownups do that. … It’s awesome to watch her. I’m really inspired by her.”

Through a painstaking process, Pinsky was able to make the loom do with yarn what her daughter did in paint. But she laughs when comparing the two processes.

“This painting that took her less than 10 minutes to do took me about four months!” she said.

The black-and-white works were created under a tight schedule. With one week to produce them, she eschewed color to reduce the number of choices and used the same material throughout.

But Pinsky thrives when working within a set of parameters, which she said often leads to big discoveries.

The smaller pieces were created for a show in Cleveland, Ohio, where Pinsky lives and runs a nonprofit, Praxis Fiber Workshop.

Each of the pieces, originally numbering 100, keeps within the same color palette while remaining varied in as many ways as possible.

At the opening on May 21, Pinsky gave a presentation and answered questions from members of the public. At the end, First Coast Cultural Center Executive Director and CEO Donna Guzzo announced that Pinsky’s work would soon be exhibited in Aviles, Spain, as part of an art exchange. Aviles and St. Augustine have a sister-city arrangement.

Pinsky’s work will be displayed through July 5 at the First Coast Cultural Center, 6000B Sawgrass Village Circle, Ponte Vedra Beach. Admission is free. The center is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Read more about Jessica Pinsky’s art in the next issue of The Register, to be published in late June.