Archive for the ‘exhibitions’ Category

my Quilt National 17 experience…

Monday, May 29th, 2017

Defining Moments 12: NO Means NO

I have just returned from a quick weekend trip to OH for the opening of the 20th biennial exhibit of Quilt National. My work Defining Moments 12: NO Means NO was juried into this prestigious venue, one of 85 chosen from a pool of nearly 800 entries. My brain feels a bit like that spinning ball on a slow website…processing, processing.

Of the 85 works exhibited, six¬†were ‘quiet works’, i.e. those with¬†a message, whether it be social justice, women rights, politics, environment or disease. That¬†surprised me the most, that there were so few narrative works and¬†yet I felt gratitude that my¬†work was¬†selected and is being seen, and honored to be there as witness. Some folks, especially in the heartland, do not want to view¬†anything graphic ¬†or ‘controversial’ in quilts. As example my colleague Kathy Nida had a quilt yanked from an exhibit last year because a viewer thought she saw a penis in it and complained. There was no penis. Talk about censorship!

My work addresses the insidious problem of campus rape and more specifically my own experience, 50 years ago. In my work Defining Moments 12: NO Means NO,  I wrote the story of my 1967 campus rape and screen-printed it to white cloth to represent my lost virginity. I made a bias slash into the fabric to emphasize how this act of aggression disrupted my sense of personal safety and peace of mind. Then I added hand-stitching, starting with a freeing stitch at the top and increasing its intensity as my hand traveled down the work. This is where I really tapped into my anger over the assault and the shame that I had not reported it. The overall shape of the stitching reflects on the potential for pregnancy which thankfully did not happen.

I had to give two x 2 minute artist talks about the work. Although I have done a lot of public speaking, I was a tad nervous talking about such a personal subject to strangers. The compilation of talks will appear later on a Quilt National 17 DVD and also on You Tube. I will post a link when that becomes available.

me and my work on display at Quilt National 17The second talk was for the other artists and VIPs. Although I have done a lot of public speaking, I was nervous speaking about such a personal experience. Despite all the exposure from my Tall Girl Series I felt like carved open speaking publicly about this piece. And yet many thanked me for my courage.

One of the jurors was Nancy Crow, grande dame of the art quilt world. Eighteen pieces in this exhibit were derivative of her work. They were all bright, stunning, exquisite, abstract works of art. The many hours, days, weeks and years artists spent studying with her at the Crow Barn were quite¬†evident. They were large, hung perfectly flat, as if a sheet of paper and not draping cloth. The stitching was sheer perfection with¬†lines no more than 1/4″ apart. The remainder of the exhibit was¬†interesting work, some 3-D, and¬†beautifully constructed, well conceived ‘pretty’ quilts.

My favorite piece overall was that of Sue Benner. She designed a huge work of recycled clothing cuffs. Each cuff was the requisite three layers and they were stitched together by color groupings using tear away stabilizer and thread. It was just spectacular. One could see through it and it was just wonderful.

Sue Benner, QN 17, reverse side with pole accent

Undoubtedly, the best part of the weekend was real time meeting of so many colleagues I know from social media. To re-acquaint with artists I have met through SAQA, get to know artists who traveled from far off lands like Australia, Switzerland, Israel and Canada; make new friends, the networking, sharing; and especially meeting, sharing a car, hotel room and conversation with the dynamic rising star Amy Meissner from Alaska. It was pure pleasure to meet Judith Martin whose work has absolutely enthralled me for some time. She creates huge pieces, slowly and methodically hand stitching which are absolutely stunning.

I traveled three time zones and back in four days. I plan to rest up a bit and then on to #20 and more truth telling. This narrative work is tough at times but I do like the impact it makes when it goes out into the world. My work in Quilt National will exhibit at the Dairy Barn until September 4 and then will travel for two years.

Oh the places it will go!

great news…

Monday, September 26th, 2016
detail, Defining Moments 12: No Means NO

detail, Defining Moments 12: No Means NO

Apparently I did not blog post earlier about this piece and now I have very wonderful news. The Cliff Notes version is Defining Moments 12: No Means NO has been juried into the biennial Quilt National 2017.

With just 11% of the entries chosen for the 2017 exhibit it is a highly competitive process to have one’s work accepted. I have entered other years and my work never¬†made the cut. The last time I entered was 2009 as knee replacements stole my attention after that. This year I entered just the one piece as I¬†felt it conveyed¬†a very important message as well as good crafts(wo)manship. Traditionally the rules have disallowed online publication of said work before the exhibit opens, so the piece is not on my website nor have I posted it in total anywhere. But I will give you a taste, a detail of the hand-stitching which made this work so remarkable.

The design¬†evolved¬†when the Stanford swimmer got such a lenient sentence for his sexual assault on campus. His ‘victim’ wrote a very profound letter which stirred my repressed feelings about my own campus rape over¬†50 years ago. I got really angry, and I felt shame (for not reporting it). I¬†was just about to¬†commit to fight for social justice for women on college campuses nationwide when¬†I realized I hate being an activist! I’d rather make art. So make art I did. I made a new #12, squeezing it between two previous pieces in the series.

I screen printed my own story to white cotton, slashed to represent the shattering of my sense of personal safety and trust, and then hand-stitched like crazy. As I neared the bottom of the piece my stitching became much more intense and deliberate. Afterwards I realized that was old emotion leaking though.

There has been some rumbling on social media from artists whose work was declined. Some say no one wants to see narrative work, no one wants to be told a story. They want to see only beautiful quilts, work they would love to hang in their home. To these artists I say three things.

One, everyone is different. If we were all the same and made all the same work, how bloody boring would that be? Secondly, while I appreciate a beautiful quality piece suitable for the living room as much as the next person, I feel storytelling/narrative work also has a place. It takes great courage to excavate these old stories but in doing so¬†we give others permission to think about and tell their own…and everyone has a story! This work starts conversation. Just think what a different world we would live in if more people felt permission to speak their truth instead of bury it in addiction or aggression. And finally,¬†it is simply¬†good¬†karma to be happy for your colleagues’ success.

 

out and about…

Saturday, July 30th, 2016
detail of stitching on  canvas

detail of stitching on canvas

Another month has zipped by…do we see a pattern here? I continue on my series which I am so loving. I worry a bit about what I will do when I finish it next year but then I chase that thought away. I will deal with that when I get there. In the meantime I am having such a great time.

I am currently doing some handwork on #12 which was an afterthought piece. And I have gathered the memorabilia and collectibles to begin #15 which is about meeting Mr. Right. I have some great things to work with including his Eagle Scout sash and uniform, which is another sacred garment to dismantle!

Last week I took a four day jaunt up to Portland to see good friends¬†and to take an art class at OCAC. Synchronistically both Franki¬†and I have been craving some hand-stitching so Radical Embroidery seemed to be just the ticket. It was a great class taught by Victoria May, and chock full of inspiration from the work of other hand-stitchers and our classmates. By the fourth day my stitching became very radical and I was enamored with stitching again. While I plan to complete my class samples eventually, I went straight to work on #12 when I got home. Details to follow…

Napa county salt pond,...looks like a Diekenborn

Napa county salt pond

In the meantime my work was selected for a future issue of Art Quilting Studio magazine so I need to prepare the text for that. And also had work chosen for the Boundaries exhibit at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts. I went to the opening reception last night and was very intrigued by a photography exhibit on sexual abuse in one of the smaller¬†galleries within the center. It was crowded and I could not get close enough to read the statements, so when I went back today to give my spiel for the docents’ talk I went through the photography exhibit.

I was so moved. Here is another woman, another artist, speaking her truth, telling her-story which is by no means pretty. This was my first experience since going public with my own story, to read and observe another’s. Stephanie Hamilton-Oravetz¬†was there so I spoke to her and told her how meaningful her work was. Actually the photography was done by another, but she was the model, acting out her childhood¬†emotions for the sexual abuse she suffered. It was such profound & moving work. She and I agreed that so much healing came to us from telling our stories. And it reminded me again how every single one of us has a story. Yet¬†very few have the courage to speak it. To do so is extremely liberating. So I keep on…telling stories while I¬†observe my own¬†transformation¬†from visual artist to storyteller. It may just be what I’ve needed to be doing all along.

stories of migration…

Thursday, April 21st, 2016
GWU Museum & Textile Museum, April 15-Sept 4, 2016

Stories of Migration at GWU Museum & Textile Museum

A week ago today my daughter & I were winging our way to Washington DC for a long weekend & the opening of Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora at the George Washington University Museum & Textile Museum. 

I am honored to have my work Defining Moments 7: Fleeing the City chosen for this prestigious venue and exhibit, which runs until September 2016.

Defining Moments 7: Fleeing the City

Defining Moments 7: Fleeing the City

Most¬†of the artists whose work was juried into this exhibit ‘migrated’ to our nation’s capitol for the opening. There were many¬†festivities including a videotaping of artists talking about our work, an opening reception for artists, their guest and members of the museum; an artists’ talk during the public opening, a private lunch with the director of the museum, a walk-through with the museum’s curator and a group¬†photo.

In addition¬†we¬†took in¬†three highly-rated vegan establishments for yummy fare, had dinner with good friends of mine also ‘in town’ for the weekend, visited with¬†my¬†long-time¬†peers, artists from all over the country; explored¬†DC by¬†Metro, walked a lot, slept little and tried to get into the Renwick for the new WONDER exhibit, for which we were unsuccessful & and had martinis at the Hay Adams Hotel bar called Off the Record!¬†Then we turned around early Sunday morn and flew home.

IMG_2529

We were dazzled by spring in DC…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As always I took many¬†aerial photos along the way. I am¬†particularly inspired by salt ponds, around Salt Lake City and on San Francisco Bay. People always say to me, there’s a ‘quilt’ in that; although a photo often¬†serves its purpose by just being. So many ideas, so little time!

various salt retention ponds

Back to Diaspora…if you plan to be in the Washington DC area before September 4, 2016, go see this exhibit. You will not be disappointed. There are two floors of¬†exquisite work, many¬†pieces 3-D as well as video presentations and many¬†personal family stories of migration. It is a fascinating & interesting¬†exhibit of which I am so proud to have my work included.

Even the staircase is artful! Stories of Migration_Logo

staircase, Textile Museum

staircase, Textile Museum

reflections…

Friday, March 4th, 2016

reflectionsI spent hours today looking for ‘new work’ to submit to two juried exhibits. It was a fruitless effort which brought up a major pet peeve on this¬†subject. Dated work is something that happens predominantly in the quilt/art quilt world. It doesn’t happen so much, if ever in the fine art world. Galleries seldom, if ever, say no work made before 2013.

Since I have been engrossed in a three-year collaborative series since 2014 all my new work has been predominantly series work. I have taken time out to make a small piece for a fundraiser here or a members show there, but mostly nose to the grindstone on the collaboration.  It galls me no end that entry prospectus writers/curators request work made since a particular date; and that said date is usually just one or two years prior to today.

Granted there are clueless people who will enter the first piece they ever made in 1990 but most professional artists do not enter work to (a) “get rid of it” or (b) that is not their best work. Why on Earth would I want to show work that does not speak to who I am as an artist? Besides if they did allow entries from 1990, these shows are juried so the old work can easily be found and plucked from the pile. Think of the money they could make from all these fees for old work submissions! Another subject for another day…

People might say, well just make a new piece that fits the parameters of the call. I could but some 7-8 years ago I vowed to never make work specifically for an entry call. Never say never but mostly¬†I do not create work for someone else’s muse, only for my own. So that said I have nothing that fits the DATED call and so will not be entering my work. It is their loss really, as I see it. My work could add so much substance to their exhibit, were they not so rigid in their vision.

going places…

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015
Defining Moments 7: Fleeing the City

Defining Moments 7: Fleeing the City

I received great news today that one of the pieces from my ongoing collaboration with Marion Coleman was juried into Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora at the newly renovated Textile Museum in Washington, DC from April 15-September 4, 2016.

The jurors Rebecca A.T. Stevens and Lee Talbot, chose my work “Fleeing the City”; one of 39 pieces chosen from 292 entries. Beyond the thrill of the¬†venue and the prestigious jurors who understood¬†what I was communicating with this piece, is the joy of this being¬†my afterthought entry.¬†This is not the first time my ‘afterthought’ entry was accepted for an exhibit. It has happened twice before. There is obviously a¬†lesson in that.

I was able to¬†submit three pieces so the first two were Defining Moments 1 about my maternal great-grandparents and their emigration from Russia in 1899 for religious freedom. The second piece I entered was Defining Moments 2¬† about my paternal grandparents’ predecessors emigrating from Wales and Ireland to farm in the Midwest.

And then I thought¬†that¬†this piece Fleeing the City is about a different kind of migration. A mid-20th century migration of whites ‘fleeing the city’ for the suburbs so their children could go to school with¬†their same kind. The piece was based on a direct quote from my father ten years ago before he was struck with¬†dementia. I had asked him what motivated the move to the East Bay¬†suburbs from San Francisco and his response was ‘so you kids would not have to go to school with colored children.” I was so¬†shocked by his answer¬†that it seemed an important piece for this collaborative series.

The text at the bottom of the piece is comprised of my elementary school photos where all faces were white. The word COLORED is comprised of¬†Marion’s¬†elementary school photos.

This acceptance has renewed my inspiration¬†to¬†continue on making work¬†that says something and¬†makes¬†an impact. Undoubtedly there are some who’d prefer I would just zip it while¬†I find narrative work really meaty,¬†challenging and¬†timeless. I do love making beautiful abstract work but so often anymore I¬†question how many pretty quilts can a girl make?!