Circular Abstractions Exhibit

Earlier this month I traveled to Lancaster, Ohio, to see the Circular Abstractions exhibit curated by Nancy Crow, and had my eyeballs bombarded by intense color and pattern, in a very good way. The Ohio Decorative Arts Center there is hosting the exhibit until April 23, 2017, after which it will move on to other venues in the east and northeast.

The 51 quilts in the show were made at Crow’s invitation by some of her former students. Like most of Crow’s work, they are large (at least 60 inches square,) feature highly contrasting solid colors, and follow the bulls eye quilt format. They are pieced, with no raw edge applique. Most also feature matchstick type quilting, sometimes spaced as little as an eighth inch apart.

I went around the show three times and could have spent even more time, but my group had lunch reservations. The venue was tight and the quilts were large, as I mentioned, so displays were creative. Some quilts were wrapped around large pillars so the quilts showed in the round. Others were grouped by fours on L shaped metal frames, so the quilt mid lines met at the center. Luckily, our group had the place to ourselves for a while, so we could peer at details and back up to see the quilts from a distance.

We weren’t allowed to photograph the show, but I found photos online by some of the quilters and the museum that organized the show. I’ll start with room shots, and then show some of my favorites.

The above photos were taken by Heather Pregger, one of the artists, at the Muskegon Museum of Art.

Here you can see the quilts wrapped around the pillars. This photo and others below are from WOUB Digital.

The black and white quilts are all pieced, not appliqued.

One of my favorites, Maren Johnston’s Emergence, is against the far wall. It features beautiful small pieces skillfully blended with each other. I found it more refined than some of the other quilts.

This is one of two quilts by Ohioan Maria Elkins. We spent a lot of time puzzling over whether she painted all those dots or used fabric. Turns out she used fabric, which had to be bias cut and pieced.

Finally, here’s my favorite by a whisker. It’s Rise by Carol Hazen. The bull’s eye elements are secondary to the letters, but give a lovely transparency effect. The light colored quilting thread also enhances that effect.

More photos are available at the Muskegon Museum of Art’s website.

Special Ohio events related to this show are a lecture by Nancy Crow on April 2, and a day long workshop on making bull’s eye motifs on April 1. You’ll need a reservation for either.

9 Comments

Filed under Art quilts, Quilt Shows

9 responses to “Circular Abstractions Exhibit

  1. Gorgeous! I love the different ways they have displayed the quilts. It looks like quite an immersive experience.

    • I gather the exhibit arrangers had to get creative with the displays due to the tight spaces. With the exception of one quilt that lost impact when wrapped around a pillar, I think the creativity did full justice to the quilts.

  2. This looks amazing–I checked the schedule and the closest the show will be to me is Auburn, NY, almost 5 hours from here. But I’d love to see the show–it looks like a technical tour de force, in addition to the eye candy!

  3. Wow, what a great exhibit. Will you get a chance to go again before it closes? I have the feeling that no photos could convey how special some of these are. Thanks.

    • I wish. Lancaster is almost a 3 hour drive from me. I did take full advantage of the lack of crowds and spent time with my nose about 3 inches from the quilts’ surface. I think I was making the monitor a bit nervous.

      • I love being able to get so close. Jim and I were at the St Louis Art Museum last week, and there were a couple of quilts I could get very close to. Really gives (no pun intended) a different view.

  4. WOW, just WOW! Thank you for sharing this awesome and inspiring exhibit.

    • There’s a catalog for the show, but I didn’t buy it as it has no info. about how the quilts were made. I don’t know if the exhibit will travel west, but you could check periodically to see.

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