Saturday, February 28, 2009

art: Jhane Barnes on Facebook, going digital

Jhane Barnes now has a Facebook page! Finally a reason to visit Facebook, though not as good as an RSS feed.

I'll struggle to resist the super-fan's temptation to monopolize the page and take it over with self-involved hermetic rambling.

It has a preview of her Fall 2009 menswear collection, with some crazy digital ink stuff that might tempt me away from her superlative textiles.Jhane Barnes 'Incandescent' digital T-shirt from upcoming Fall 2009 collection

The video for this T-shirt reminds me of Jeremy Blake's work (RIP).


Thursday, December 6, 2007

fashion: Jhane Barnes in person

A store opened up in Walnut Creek in Northern California carrying a treasure trove of Jhane Barnes menswear designs, and Jhane was there in person!

Jhane with the "Infrastructure" shirt I bought, which she signed.

She was gracious and obviously a huge enthusiast of the textile processes and craftspeople that bring her designs to life; she spent a lot of time talking about design and weaving and tailoring with everyone. She wears her artistry lightly, it's running a business with a global supply chain that's a struggle.

That Bartlett Baron store has so many items, it's an art gallery where you can and should touch and examine the artworks, often while worn by other customers ("Mind if I feel your shirt?"). Even with interactive pan and zoom, viewing the clothing on a web site doesn't come close to their physical manifestation. Despite all the on-screen software (PhotoShop and custom pattern software and loom programming) in their creation, they're tailored surfaces with a 3D structure.

I keep saying, her art is so cheap it's a steal, and you can wear it; I should forget about closets and just hang everything on the wall. The gentlemen below own something like 3,000 pieces between them.
Larry Bedini, JhaneBarnes (is God), and John Danielson

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The asymmetry of fame

It's a strange feeling to be a fan and meet your idol/heroine. You follow him or her from afar, you acquire their artistic output, maybe you write about them, and one day you're there up close and personal. It's the high point of your year, but for them it's another interaction on a grueling tour.

I've met William Gibson at book signings, Thomas Dolby after a concert, Adrian Legg at a ridiculously sparsely attended gig, and now Jhane Barnes. William Gibson knew about my bibliography/mediagraphy, and registering the domain JhaneBarnesIsGod.com does get you noticed, but c'mon, I'm standing next to one of the preëminent artists of our time. The only thing to do is drop to your knees and prostrate yourself, “We're not worthy” Wayne's World style.


Monday, August 13, 2007

fashion: Jhane Barnes being Jhane

Another season, another stupendous collection. Jhane Barnes is the Barry Bonds of fashion, without the walks or pop-ups or the steroid abuse. Literally thousands of hits and hundreds of home runs. Trajectory is perfect, and Interlock (a triple-woven shirt!) are particularly stellar. The geometric abstraction remains (as I wrote, she's better than Vasarely and up there with Mondrian) but she's doing amazing things with the weaving itself that you can't appreciate on a computer screen. Insanely, few stores in my area carry them.

Jhane Barnes Trajectory shirt
closeup of Trajectory shirtSo many great designs, so little closet space. I'm going to try to get Trajectory (sold out in my size :-( ). Looks nice from a distance but zoom closer and it reveals worlds.

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Monday, December 5, 2005

art: JhaneBarnes on fire

Jhane Barnes's new shirt collection is her strongest in years, which is really saying something because she is and has been a stone genius in the field of textile design for over 20 years.

Her site now has a video of the design and manufacture of the Infinity shirt fabric. But they're nearly all sensational. You have no idea how great, say, Chute or Clip Out is until you zoom in to the max and see the detail. Next - Zoom - Next - Zoom through the wonders.

Her œuvre raises issues about art and æsthetics that I don't have the intellectual horsepower to address. These things aren't unique; she apparently doesn't suffer for her art; she makes several collections a year of them; there's no overarching sociopolitical statement behind them beyond a deep appreciation of natural forms. While running a business and designing other stuff (fine menswear, furniture, carpets, etc.), she tinkers with custom pattern software and state-of-the-art textile techniques to crank out dozens of designs that you can wear for only $135 - $250. Does that make them mere craft, or design, or commerce, when each is so beautiful in itself and perfectly suited to the scale and shape of the human torso?

Or another way to look at it is, for only $9000 you could own a collection of 45 geometric abstract artworks that are better than anything I've seen in the genre (e.g. here and here) by a living "fine" artist. It's Piet Mondrian and Jhane Barnes and 18th century Kyo-Yuzen kimono designers, then everyone else.

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