Mysterious Content of Softness to Open Fall 2012

The Mysterious Content of Softness on view at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum Fall 2012

Contact Sandy Todd 407.646.1595 or
June 7, 2012


WINTER PARK, FL– Bringing together 11 national and international artists in various stages of their careers, The Mysterious Content of Softness explores the transformative power of fiber and its connection to the human body.  Fiber techniques such as knitting, loom-weaving, and crochet have long helped us fashion personal identity, whether through the clothing we wear or our cultural traditions.  In fact, the very nature of fiber–sometimes soft and flexible, while at other times rough and rigid–carries with it a unique metaphor for what it means to be human.  The Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida is pleased to announce the opening of this fascinating exhibition on September 15, 2012.


Consisting of sculptures, installations, and crafts, "the artists were selected for their emotional response to, and understanding of fiber's potential for capturing the fluidity of life," says Stefano Catalani, curator of the exhibition.  Exploiting the durability and fragility of the medium, a number of artists address issues of gender identity, "by repositioning and humorously challenging the expectations from a medium so stereotypically feminine," Catalani states.


Whether employing time-honored techniques such as knitting, crochet, embroidery, and loom weaving, or foraying into new uses of traditional textiles, these artists explore the physical, psychological, and cultural associations of fiber to the body.  The intrinsic qualities of fiber:  its softness, sagginess and fragility, its ability to drape, protect and clothe, as well as to fabricate and express identity, make it possible for the textile medium to incomparably capture the nature of the flesh and convey an affinity for life.  The exhibition title is inspired by the words of artist Magdelena Abakanowicz, whose enormous fiber sculptures made her one of the most celebrated artists of our time.  Regarding the fragility of life in an artist's statement from 1979, Abakanowicz observed the "destruction of soft life and the boundless mystery of the content of softness", leading the artist to embrace "that which was soft with a complex tissue" as materials in her work.

Featured artists in The Mysterious Content of Softness include:  Diem Chau, Lauren DiCioccio, Angela Ellsworth, James Gobel, Angela Hennessy, Rock Hushka, Lisa Kellner, Miller & Shellabarger, L.J. Roberts, Jermy Sanders, and Nathan Vincent.  The exhibition is on view at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum from September 15 through December 30, 2012.


The Mysterious Content of Softness is organized by the Bellevue Arts Museum and curated by Stefano Catalani.





Located on the campus of Rollins College near downtown Winter Park, the Cornell’s gallery hours are: Tuesday–Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m. Admission is $5.00 for adults. Free to CFAM members, Rollins College faculty, staff, and all students with current ID, and children. For additional information, please call 407.646.2526 or visit


Founded in 1885, Rollins College is Florida's oldest recognized college, and is consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of "America's Best College". The College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Professional Studies offer full-time undergraduate programs in the liberal arts. Rollins's evening program, the Hamilton Holt School, serves the Central Florida community by offering exceptional undergraduate and graduate degree programs during evenings and weekends to students diverse in age, experience, and professional development. The Crummer Graduate School of Business is ranked a top MBA program by Forbes and Bloomberg Businessweek. For more information about Rollins, visit our website at