Material Pulses: Seven Viewpoints
October 6, 2018 - January 13, 2019
The Gertrude C. Ford Galleries for The Permanent Collection
Mary Lou Alexander, "Things Fall Apart #5," 2015. shibori and overdyed cotton fabric using Procion MX dyes, wool batting, cotton thread. 79 x 70 in. Courtesy of the artist. Photograph by Joseph Rudinec.
Claire Benn, "Watering Hole," 2015. cotton canvas, earth pigments (yellow ochre), acrylic medium and water, cotton embroidery thread, cotton machine thread. 71 x 76 in. Courtesy of the artist. Photography by J. Kevin Fitzsimons.
Elizabeth Brandt, "A Map to Get Where I’m Going," 2015. cotton fabric, polyester batting, cotton and polyester thread. 99 1/2 x 60 1/2 in. Courtesy of the artist. Photograph by William Morgan.
Jayne Willoughby, "Veiled Completion (Side B)," 2015. commercial-dyed cotton fabrics, artist’s hand-dyed cotton fabrics, polyester batting, polyester thread. 83 1/2 x 79 1/2 in. Courtesy of the artist. Photograph by Seann Childs.
Christine Mauersberger, "Momentum," 2015. Rubylith, tulle, thread. Variable dimensions. Courtesy of the artist.
Material Pulses: Seven Viewpoints, an exhibition focused on the art of quilt-making, presents 17 works by seven fiber artists representing the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Curated by internationally renowned artist and teacher Nancy Crow, Material Pulses contributes to the dialogue of contemporary textile arts. Says Crow, “Material Pulses is the culmination of my mission to bring back the majesty, strength, and energy of textile works, particularly large quilts.”
Crow has seen trends in the medium follow a track of smaller quilts in more neutral colors, and asked, why? The pull of quilting lies in its large, forceful presence and the freedom to use color joyously. Making a quilt is a physical activity, involving piecing parts on working spaces that can span entire walls.
The exhibition features quilts, mixed media, and installation work. For dramatic scale of an art form that is often relegated to its functional qualities, quilts of up to 101 inches high are featured. The artists investigate color, pattern, and size through traditional and experimental quilt-making applications. The curator balances a focus on shapes with oversized works, exploring excellence in machine quilting and surface design.
The exhibition’s artists bring their techniques and vision to realizing this celebration of contemporary textile arts. Among them, Elizabeth Brandt balances large geometric and organic shapes, while at the same time flirting with a demanding dark palette. Jayne Willoughby’s work on one side seems contemplative, while the other spouts riotous color systems. Mary Lou Alexander has been exploring shibori (a Japanese dyeing method) for decades, and utilized this technique to exemplify the beauty of mark-making. Barb Wills printed her fabrics, both cotton and silk, with original woodcuts created from Shina wood, using cutting tools from Japan.
The exhibition artists are Denise L. Roberts, Albright, WV; Claire Benn, Surrey, England; Jayne Willoughby, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Mary Lou Alexander, Hubbard, OH; Christine Mauersberger, Cleveland, OH; Barb Wills, Prescott, AZ; and Elizabeth Brandt, Holland, MI.
Curator Nancy Crow has taught quilt-making as an art form in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States. She is the cofounder of Quilt Surface Design and Quilt National.