Arts Thread

Maris Van Vlack
Textiles BFA

Rhode Island School of Design

Specialisms: Fine Art / Textiles - Weave / Contemporary Craft

Location: Boston, United States

maris-van-vlack ArtsThread Profile
Rhode Island School of Design

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Maris Van Vlack

Maris Van Vlack ArtsThread Profile

First Name: Maris

Last Name: Van Vlack

Specialisms: Fine Art / Textiles - Weave / Contemporary Craft


My Location: Boston, United States

University / College: Rhode Island School of Design

Course / Program Title: Textiles BFA


Maris Van Vlack (b. 2002) grew up in Massachusetts surrounded by the historical textiles practices in the Boston area and the quiet beauty of the New England forested habitats. Her time studying at the Rhode Island School of Design in the Textile Department’s BFA program with a Drawing minor has taught her to intertwine ways of making and think critically about what inspires her textiles work. She is primarily a fiber artist, constructing surfaces using weaving techniques that are then layered with drawn marks and coats of pigment. Viewers are encouraged to look at her tapestries as if they were looking at a painting, with emphasis on the deep and spatial compositions imitating the landscape that comes through the layering processes. Maris is a recipient of the St. Botolph’s Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award for 2023.

These woven tapestries depict the architecture from the home that the artist’s grandmother grew up in, which was bombed and destroyed during World War II. The hand-woven block structure and surface knitting reference patterns in cartography, tying the architectural forms back to the geographic region where it once existed. The piece intends to begin a conversation about spaces that cannot be returned to but exist through the repetition of storytelling and memory.

This work uses imagery of architectural ruins to create an imagined surreal landscape, which represents a family story of loss and destruction of a war-torn region during World War II. Areas of the fabric are industrially knitted on a stoll machine and are stretched within open sections of hand-woven fabric panels as a way to create a mysterious, atmospheric space with shifts in focus. The hand-weaving uses a technique developed by the artist of hand-knitting a transparent layer over the weaving while it is on the loom, which creates a netting that obscures the imagery in the tapestry below it. The layers and shifts in focus mirror the way that memory gets hidden and lost throughout time.