Category Archives: Exhibits

Artistic Endeavors – Quilts And Real World Issues

Quilts often seek to evoke warm, cozy feelings associated with rainbows, puppies, and holidays; but some are deliberately different. They are meant to make the viewer question assumptions and possibly feel uncomfortable.

Most recently the Threads of Resistance show has been exciting reactions, but quilters were making social and political statements in the 19th century about topics like war, temperance, and women’s suffrage. The tradition has continued through civil rights, environmental issues, AIDs, refugees, gun control and other contemporary concerns.

AIDs quilt

Women’s Christian Temperance Union Bear Paw quilt

I addressed the social commentary quilts shown at 2018’s QuiltCon earlier. Here’s my favorite one, a tribute to Heather Heyer, the activist killed during the white supremacist march in Charlottesville last August.

Juli Smith B4U

I viewed the Threads of Resistance exhibit at the 2018 Sewing Expo in Cleveland, Ohio, after reading the printed warning about the graphic nature of some of the work. The exhibit was cordoned off, with only one entry point. I took photos of ones I thought combined a message and artistry. See all the entries here.

Get Woke – Julie Parrish

Seeking Refuge – Do Palma

Patriotism – Amy Sullivan

My Body, My Rules – Sue Bleiweiss
Nevertheless, They Persisted – Do Palma

The societal/political aspects of quilts are stronger than you’d think if you went only by what’s exhibited at many quilt shows. Part of the International Quilt Study Center’s website, World Quilts: The American Story, is devoted to engagement. Thomas Knauer posted an impassioned editorial about what he calls the whitewashing of quilts’ context

I looked over my work and found almost no topical subjects. I just don’t do what I call message quilts. But maybe I should. Let me end with a quilt I think, and others agree, epitomizes the use of quilting skills in service of a message.

Freedom quilt by Jessie Telfair, 1983




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Icing On The Cake

Last Friday night my husband and I attended the opening reception for a landscape art show called Against The Sky because my “Sunset On Main” was juried into the show. I was glad my piece overcame the attitude that a quilt can’t be art, though my piece was indeed the only fiber art in the show.

After I checked out all the other work in the show and had some lively conversations about my work, the show awards were announced by the show’s juror. He began with the honorable mentions, which I thought maybe I had a shot at. No joy there. Then third and second place works were announced and I thought it was enough to get into the show.

My jaw hit the floor when the juror awarded first place to “Sunset On Main.”  There was some talk about how a craft can become art, but I was too stupified to take in all the speech.

Here are the few photos I took at the show. The crowd didn’t seem to be taking pictures, so I snuck in just a bit of smart phone photography.

As you can see, there was lots of photography in the show; I’d say about half of the 69 works.

And what do I get as first place winner? – a certificate and a little sticker by my work. It’s a start.

Linking to Off The Wall Friday.

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Taking A Gamble

Way back at the beginning of 2018 I set myself a few quilting goals. One was to have my work accepted in an art show, not just a quilt show. To that end I mounted “Sunset on Main” on a prestretched canvas in hopes that would appeal more to an art show juror. Such a presentation precluded any usual quilt show entries with their “must show your work” rules about quilt backs.

My gamble paid off when that work was accepted into Against The Sky, a juried landscape exhibition coming up at Summit Artspace from October 19 to November 17.

I’ll know more about the other entries after I attend the opening reception this Friday night from 5-8 p.m. From the few I saw when I took in my piece it will be an interesting mixture of media.

So, if you’re planning to be in downtown Akron on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday afternoons, stop by. Summit Artspace at 140 East Market Street is a block from the Akron Art Museum. Specific hours are 12-7 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and 12-5 p.m. Saturdays. Special Artwalk hours are from 12-9 p.m. on Thursday, November 3.

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Artistic Endeavors – Art From Paper

Recently I came across a new-to-me twist on paper sculpture – replicating historic costumes in paint and paper. I won’t touch on the issue of whether fashion design is more than a decorative art, but I consider it an artistic endeavor.

The Frick Museum in Pittsburgh, PA, has a new special exhibit “Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper,” which includes life-size trompe l’œil paper costumes, in addition to paper accessories such as shoes, jewelries and handbags, created by Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave. French for “deceive the eye,” trompe l’œil is an art technique that uses photographically realistic details to create optical illusions; in de Borchgrave’s case, she uses paper and paint to simulate various fabrics.

The artist’s interest in creating paper costumes was sparked by a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1994, where she found herself inspired by the historic costumes on display. Back in her studio, she began to experiment with creating renditions of the pieces in paper.

According to de Borchgrave, “After I make some drawings, after I put the paper on the table, I have to choose the color to give the effect. Sometimes it’s more satin, sometimes it’s like a felt … or silk. I look and I try to find the effect through the color. When I find that, I paint all the paper … and after, there are people who cut the paper and put it together. For sure, I am next to them because I have to decide if it’s large enough or maybe too big or maybe too little. That’s like haute couture for all the dresses you can see in that exhibition.”

Marie de Medici
Closeup of ruff

Painting of the Princess of Conde by Rubens


The dress created from the painting of the Princess of Conde. 

You can see closeups of garments created for the 2009 exhibit called Les Medicis: Le Reve Revient here. The costumes take center stage after about 45 seconds of location footage, and the video shows their sumptuousness through slow pan shots.

De Borchgrave’s website gives a taste of her current projects such as the life and work of Picasso. She is also involved in fabric and paper products design, and rents out her studio for special tours and gatherings. You and 14 others can enjoy a guided tour of her Brussels studio for a minimum of 225 Euros.

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Blue and White (With A Little Red) Quilts

Earlier I wrote about the preview party for Patterns of History: Quilts of the Summit County Historical Society. Now I’d like to share a few of the quilts on display with you.

First, the blue and white quilts.


The tiny feathered edges are well done, and the scallop edge is shallower than many. You can see the fading on the blue where the quilt was exposed to sun, probably when it was on a bed.
An Ohio quilt display has to include an Ohio Star quilt.
This Devils Claw design features subtle variations of blue.
Tiny, even quilting stitches are the highlight of this nine patch variation.
As promised, an applique quilt that features reds.

These and many more quilts and coverlets are displayed throughout the Simon Perkins Mansion and the John Brown House during October. Self-guided tours are available Wednesday-Saturday from 1-4 p.m. for an admission fee to non-Society members.

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Artistic Endeavors – James Stanford’s Mandalas

Player

James Stanford’s Shimmering Zen is now on exhibit at The Studio-Sahara West Library in Las Vegas, Nevada, through December 8, 2018. It has been described as the intersection of Las Vegas and Buddhism. The digital images are intricate, detail-dense, neatly symmetrical, abstract, mandala-like. Most often they’re layers of details cropped from historic photos of Vegas signage and architecture.


Skrolls

Stanford uses the iconic vintage signage of Las Vegas, where he spent his childhood at a time when the town was small and provincial, without access to global culture. His layered images reflect a mirrored geometry that unravels and then recomposes. Printed on metallic paper, the works evoke a sense of infinite reflection.

Some of the pieces in the exhibit are “lenticular” images — several layers of the same image, each treated and colored differently, backlit and viewed through a lenticular, or striated, magnifying lens. They are the product of intensive Photoshopping — up to 30 or 40 layers each. The picture shifts as you move in front of it. So when you move, the image shift, while brief, is pronounced, a disruptive flutter before the picture snaps back to clarity, albeit now in a different alignment. Think kaleidoscopes.

Kings 8

Lucky Lady

Stanford’s latest photo montage exhibit is part of his Indra’s Jewels, and is available as a book. You can sample more of Stanford’s work on his Vimeo channel, https://vimeo.com/jamesstanford. These short, often silent, videos can be mesmerizing.

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If You Love Vintage Quilts

and live in northeast Ohio, then be sure to visit the Summit County Historical Society‘s Perkins Mansion and see the Society’s quilts on display during October. The special exhibit, called Patterns of History: Quilts of the Summit County Historical Society, will be displayed in the Perkins Stone Mansion, John Brown House and the Carriage House.

Single Irish Chain

If you want to preview the exhibit and enjoy some appetizers and desserts at the same time, then come to the preview party on Monday, October 1, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available from the Society or at Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.com/e/preview-party-for-patterns-of-history-quilts-tickets-50086500070.

1870s embroidered tied quilt

I’ve helped inventory the society’s quilts and coverlets, so I know there are some gems.

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