“Repair 1,” by Lesia Sochor, wax sticks, watercolor, gouche Submitted photo

Celebrating the opening of its new location and gallery space, LA Arts will host an exhibition by Maine artist Lesia Sochor, titled “REUSE • REPAIR • RECONSIDER.” The exhibition, which explores the concept of repair using the image of ripped jeans as a metaphor, will open Tuesday, Jan. 17, and run through Sunday, March 12. A reception and gallery talk by the artist will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10, and a Sashiko Stitching workshop by a fellow artist colleague, Lissa Widoff, will be held from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4.

Sochor says of her work, “Waste was not a word or concept my childhood family could conceive of. My Ukrainian immigrant parents fixed, repaired and mended. It was a time when frugality was king and necessity was queen. A time before credit cards, a time when less was less and that was OK. Consumerism was not yet eating away at the very core of our souls.”

“Clothes were sewn, repaired, and passed on, or kept as treasured garments,” she continues. “I was brought up to practically idolize fabric. The idea of ripping jeans intentionally would have been abhorring. Even today, for me, this style is somehow irreverent and almost brutal to the fibers. The ability to sew, re-purpose and repair clothing opens up a world of reuse and recycling and helps keep textiles out of landfills. 92 million tons of clothes are thrown away every year. Eco-crafting, is being driven by young adults who are questioning and often rejecting the excesses of materialism. They are discovering the pleasure in self-sufficiency and how stitches contribute to the life and story of a garment. Louise Bourgeois said ‘Clothing is an exercise in memory. It is
also a kind of emotional repair.'”

“Three years ago, I took a deep dive into the notion of repair. My paintings use the image of ripped jeans, and I ‘stitch’ them with gouache, keeping in mind the Japanese practice of Boro; re-purposing and stitching worn cloth to prolong the life of a garment. Every scrap of fabric was used. I investigate mending as an intervention, as metaphor, as a call to action; not only to restore material things, but as an intention to repair the fractured parts of ourselves, and our ruptured world; mend the broken/torn pieces to make it whole again,” she says.

For 42 years, Sochor has been a part of the artistic fiber of Waldo County, where she has lived, created and taught. An interdisciplinary artist, she is primarily a painter. Sochor received BFA in painting from the Philadelphia College of Art and has exhibited in museums, galleries and universities throughout New England and beyond.

Since 1973, LA Arts, the arts agency for the cities of Lewiston and Auburn Maine, has pursued a mission to engage and inspire a vibrant community through arts and culture. The agency works with governments, businesses, schools and local arts and cultural organizations to create opportunities for community members across the generations to experience, learn, and participate in the arts. LA Arts organizes arts programs and initiatives, supports the work of local artists and art organizations, and highlights the essential role the arts play in shaping an economically vital, socially integrated, and forward-looking future for its community. Learn more at www.laarts.org.

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