Rose Pearlman | Minema Gallery | Shows | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice


Rose Pearlman

When: Jan. 11-March 5 2022

You’re not going to stamp your snowy boots on Rose Pearlman rugs. For starters, they hang on the wall. The Brooklyn-based artist employs the punch needle rug-hooking technique to create contemporary abstractions that, from a distance, could be mistaken for paintings. But as any number of YouTube videos demonstrate, “punching” bits of wool through a stretched canvas with a special hand tool is a meticulous, one-stitch-at-a-time affair. A selection of Pearlman’s creations is currently installed at Minema gallery in Johnson. She titled the exhibition “Counter-Space,” a double entendre referring both to the still life of surface clutter — which she abstracts by eliminating color and flattening the plane — and to Pearlman’s resistance to functionality. “The wall hangings move away from utility and become ornamental, as I explore the fragility of a single hooked line,” she writes in an artist statement, “and find the balance between negative and positive space.” The traditional goal of her medium, back in colonial New England times, was to make rugs that covered floors and kept feet warm. Pearlman eschews the domestic in favor of the decorative yet honors the resourcefulness of generations of (mostly) women crafters. In her nod to thrift and sustainability, she sometimes uses materials such as deconstructed plastic bags and twine. Pearlman’s organic and geometric shapes against an off-white or burlap-colored background are a far cry from the designs of yesteryear, but, she writes, “the technique is still deeply rooted in the knowledge and skill of this medium’s rich history.”