Yesterday my husband and I visited an art quilt show at the Wayne Art Center in Wayne, PA.
As you may expect, this show has been disrupted by the pandemic and I think this is the first time in a couple of years that it has appeared in person. I have never taken classes at this center but I know of it through art friends, and I’ve been on their mailing list for some time. I’m considering taking a class here, and if I don’t sign up this semester, I feel sure someday I will – so this visit also allowed me to check out the facility and get familiar with the location.
Here’s the info on the show. You can visit it online, so I won’t go through all the details. I’ll just give my personal impressions of the exhibit.
As you know, I did a lot of fabric art in the past, but not much since maybe about 2000 or so, with the exception of a few small items. I was interested to see where things stand in the art quilt world and I thought this exhibit would be informative.
The quilts were hung in two large galleries. I’ll show you overviews of each one. Let’s start here, as I sort of pan around the room from the entrance.
And here is the second room:
And here are a few of the details I found of interest. Note: I didn’t record the names of the artists or the quilts, since you can easily find them on the exhibit online page – I just went for photos of details or items that captured my eye.
I noticed that many, if not most, of the quilts utilized a quilting system of straight line stitching. I think this is because most of the quilts relied on their fabrics and colors for their visual impression, and not much for texture, so the stitching did not interfere with that objective.
I found it interesting how the stitching color affected the impression of color that the fabrics made.
I think the effect was even more pronounced in this quilt. Imagine how this detail section would look if the stitching followed the fabric colors in all cases.
Our favorite quilt, however, exploited color in its overall impression as well as employing a lot of texture. I also liked the pictorial nature of the quilt, and the idea that there is a story here. I also really like the construction technique and how it reads differently close up and from across the room.
One other quilt that caught our eye was this one constructed of mesh. It was displayed so that it hung in front of a window and could be viewed from both sides. Though I took photos of just this one piece, the same maker had another one right next to it (you can see a portion of it in the first photo, at the right) that used the same technique in another way.
I found these innovative and fun to look at, and also, I liked the idea that both sides of the art could be viewed.
I enjoyed the exhibit, but overall, I feel like I’ve seen similar work before and with the couple of exceptions I mentioned, nothing felt that fresh or different to me. I guess I have seen many very well-constructed quilts over the years and I now am looking for something that stands out and shouts out to me, commands attention. And something that is maybe coming from an unexpected direction or perspective. These quilts mostly felt pretty impersonal and almost detached to me.
Well, that’s just my opinion. I’m glad to have had the chance to see fiber art in such a setting. It’s important to see fabric work in person if possible as it reads so differently than when it’s photographed. And, it’s another step for me in heading toward my goal of rejoining the fiber art world, even in the small way that I have been contemplating, with my new sewing machine and my small stash of recently collected fabrics.
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