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TO JULY 28
Though the exhibit’s heady title conjures odd images of virtual-reality knitting, the Textile Museum’s “Technology as Catalyst: Textile Artists on the Cutting Edge” offers an approachable overview of the digital revolution’s impact on textile art. The advent of digital printing—any computer-generated image can now be copied onto cloth with a souped-up inkjet printer—has proved to be a technical liberation for several of the show’s artists, who juxtapose the technique with more traditional textile-working methods: Susan Brandeis embroiders over panels of abstract shapes to create a quilted timeline of evolution from primordial pools to computerized pixels, and Hitoshi Ujiie contrasts digitized print precision with the muted glow of Japanese resist-dye techniques. Lia Cook’s work, however, is the exhibitions high point: Working by hand with the aid of a digital loom, the artist weaves thousands of shining multicolored threads into imposing wall-sized pieces, three of which (including Big Baby, pictured) began as photographs of her young son and herself as a child and were then scanned into bitmaps for the machine. Literally towering over the rest of the show, the giant toddlers bring to mind the work of Chuck Close, not only in scale but in the visual trickery of the rendering: At eye level, the viewer is enveloped in the perfect pattern of the weave; the effect of the interlocking filaments is hypnotic, like staring into television static. Other technical experiments are less impressive: Junco Sato Pollack’s flowing drape sculptures—polyester infused with metallic gas—seem as if they had rolled off a bolt of prom-dress taffeta. The exhibition is on view from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, at the Textile Museum, 2320 S St. NW. $5 (suggested donation). (202) 667-0441. (Shauna Miller)