Reading the October issue of Art in America magazine (yes, I really do need to get caught up!), I was continually struck by the number of paintings and art works that are very clearly based on fiber work.
And, it made me realise that with the new SAQA definition of an art quilt being an amalgamation of:
the old (now appearing to be quite fuddy duddy!) Quilt National definition of “3 layers stitched together and never before seen by virtually anyone on the planet”! (“Oh I can’t show you a picture of my new piece I might just enter it into Quilt national”!) ……
“anything that references” the art quilt
all of this artwork is now eligible for SAQA shows, and the artists eligible to be SAQA members.
Consider the work of Stephen Westfall for instance. He paints beautiful renditions of various well known diamond variations, half square triangle variations, bars, squares within squares. They are really super, bold and strong, with eye catching colours, crisp and dynamic. Who could want more? Why bother with cloth and stitching in the post post modern world? (or is it post post post?) Especially those of us with fingers that no longer want to push a needle and thread around; you can hold a brush with your toes!
Eric Beltz draws cross stitch samplers. the old fashioned kind with morals. Somewhat updated I must admit! as in: “Happy is that people who have no history” , “I snow all about you” and “Revive”. These are gorgeous totally meticulous renditions of great grandmamas samplers. ( I wonder, by the way, if his art reviews all start with “these are not your grandmother’s samplers” – such an overused phrase there’s probably a key stroke short cut to it on journalists keyboards).
Jenny Hart too, and oh dear, how is this website headed “this ain’t your gramma’s embroidery”!! I swear I had not visited this site before I wrote the above paragraph! Oh my, the contagion of these phrase. Like, whatever!
And what about Dorothea Rockburn’s work? It is very reminiscent of a current vogue in art quilting for what I call surface design samplers. “ We made this wonderful fabric in a workshop and don’t really want to figure out how to incorporate it into a piece, so I think we’ll just kind of overlay a few of the best bits and stitch them together.” Actually those folk would do well to see just how Ms Rockburn makes those glorious samples work together!!
And then there’s Canadian artist Liz Magor’s folded blankets and sheets "newly cleaned (well that's very artistic!), neatly folded and draped over hangers of different dimensions [and] the blankets were irregularly spaced along one wall of the gallery" to think about.
Perhaps we'd do better just to wash, iron, fold and hang up the lengths of fabric from which a quilt "could be made" thus evoking the Power of Potential!
And perhaps they would "hover and vibrate with inchoate meaning" - how I'd love to make a quilt that hovered with inchoate meaning!! oh yes! I’m vibrating at the very thought…. especially if it produces "faint echoes from our own planetary realm of art"!!
All these “quilts” are Made in America too – no Chinese reproductions here!! Actually, if you think about it, if you really want to buy Made in America – buy art!! Especially art quilts (however they are made!).
Art is such a wonderfully incestuous activity!
So if you have been, thanks for reading!
And do please send your comments (however tongue in cheek), they add so much to a blog.
P.S. the quilt at the top was just awarded The Edward Lambert Memorial prize at the Athens Annual Art Show; I’m thrilled and honoured. Ed Lambert was a much beloved professor in the art department at the University of Georgia. He gave great encouragement and support to many artists (including me, I’m happy to say) and was revered by so many in Athens. He died suddenly last year, a great loss to our community.