Traditional forms take on a new and inspired meaning

A textile hangs from the ceiling, giving off sheen from the recycled audio tape used as  yarn. Another textile is draped on a mannequin — a magnifying glass hangs down to enable inspection of its minute details.This is the work of Montreal-based Anna Biró, who has a textile exhibit that opened at 215 College Gallery on Dec. 4.Biró takes a traditional but rarely used art form and merges it with modern aspects to infuse her work with both history and relevance to modern life. “The warp on the loom — that is like history,” Biró said. “The thread that I weave in — that’s like everyday living.”Some of the textiles in her show are made with traditional materials and some with completely unconventional ones. This combination of the classic with the innovative is a reflection of Biró’s lifestyle. “Sometimes I go traditional, sometimes I do non-traditional,” Biró said. “I think that’s how we live these days. We have dishes that we use from Ikea and ones from our grandparents.”Furthermore, the materials that Biró uses reflect the close connection between her work and herself. In one piece, reflective tape has been used like yarn.”That can be a lifesaver if it’s in a scarf and I’m riding my bike,” Biró said.”I like her approach to the materials a lot,” Janie Cohen, director of the Fleming Museum, said. “There’s kind of an … intimate relationship to the materials.”But despite careful detail work and innovative uses of objects, Biró’s art still has a certain classic, simple feel to it.”It’s not about the complexity, it’s about how we translate back to life,” Biró said. “I try to translate the handmade to the mindmade.” “I think it’s a very elegant focus show on an under-shown medium,” Jennifer Koch, who attended the opening, said.In addition to the physical textiles, the ideas that inspired the pieces and the impressions that the pieces give are just as significant. “It very interesting to even try to answer the question [of what my art is about],” Biró said, “I’m happy people have questions.”