National Artists Re-Interpret the Modern-Day Quilt in Tulsa

Living Arts of Tulsa presents Modern Materials: The Art of the Quilt, with 24 fiber artists from across the Nation presenting 30 quilted works, opening Friday, February 5th at Living ArtSpace in downtown Tulsa. This is an invitational exhibition bringing together the best and most innovative contemporary artists in the United States who are working in the quilt medium today. There is a special emphasis on three dimensional work within the show. Modern Materials was curated by Jill Rumoshosky Werner of Wichita, Kansas, and runs at from Feb. 5 through Feb. 25, 2010, at Living Arts, 307 E. Brady, downtown Tulsa. Opening reception is Feb. 5, 2010, from 5-9 p.m.

Two Oklahoma artists are featured in “Modern Materials”: Jean Ann Fausser of Tulsa created a mixed-media quilted sculpture of a film strip titled “Focus,” while Oklahoma City fiber artist/gardener Elia Woods crafted the 3-D silk piece “All Paths Lead to Home” based on her experiences as a beekeeper.

About one-third of the works in “Modern Materials” are 3-D, or “off the wall.” California artist Susan Else created a quilted, fully functional model of a Ferris wheel titled “Above the Boardwalk.” In a piece by New Jersey artist Kevan Rupp Lunney, a huge verdant “Pod” partially opens to reveal a bright pink bud inside.

Quilting has a unique culture wherein historically, it has been a traditional craft where the product is utilitarian; versus modern quilting quickly becoming a contemporary art form to be hung on the wall or sat on a pedestal. Many quilters tell narratives through their work, while some address social issues through their art. Others simply use quilt art as their chosen medium for self-expression. Quilt artists use a variety of fibers and quilting materials, and some incorporate a range of other materials, from photographic film to tiny plastic suitcases.

Werner selected 24 of the most notable art quilters working today to take part in the exhibit. The works selected for this exhibition represented the most current trends in art quilting. Many pieces were created specifically for this show. The exhibit was originally shown in Oklahoma City’s Artspace at Untitled Gallery in July 2009.

Sandra Sider writes in her essay for the exhibition catalog, “…Unlike mainstream traditional quilts, those in Modern Materials: The Art of the Quilt have pushed the boundaries of the craft into the realm of art. Several artists in the exhibition were trained in design or fine art, applying those principles to fiber and textiles. Others were self-taught, augmenting that experience with workshops in techniques and processes. These individuals prefer to express their artistic goals through quilt art because the stitched texture of the medium imparts complexity and a sense of presence.”

Curator Statement
Years ago, when I worked as a technical writer, I received a company dictionary and was told that my writing could only use the words it contained. It made me wonder about ways that abstract concepts could be conveyed without any using words at all. Now, I do this with my art by creating my own version of a visual dictionary, in which I define words and concepts with imagery rather than with other words. I particularly like to play with words that have multiple meanings and surprise with humor. My artworks may have political or social connotations, industrial connections or a purer reference to the physical world.

Quilted elements appear in each piece because people connect with quilting on a deep emotional level. Rather than surfaces to be decorated, I treat the quilts as raw materials, creating the lines, planes and forms of my designs. I like to work with bold, bright colors because they provide a high level of excitement and energy. Many times, I play with the scale of an object to increase its importance.

My ideas come from a wide range of influences, including scientific imagery and the works of Eva Hesse and Robert Rauschenberg. The result is a new way of looking at quilts, which takes them into the realm of conceptual art and sculpture.

Modern Materials: The Artists
Angela Moll
Arturo Alonzo Sandoval
B.J. Adams
Barbara W. Watler
Dan Olfe
Elia Woods
Jean Ann Fausser
Jill Rumoshosky Werner
John W. Lefelhocz
Kathy Weaver
Katie Pasquini Masopust
Kevan Rupp Lunney
Linda Colsh
Lori Lupe Pelish
M. Joan Lintault
Marilyn Henrion
Mary Anne Jordan
Mary Beth Bellah
Pam RuBert
Regina Benson
Susan Else
Theresa M. Heaton
Wendy Huhn

Modern Materials: The Art of the Quilt opens February 5, 2010 from 5-9pm and runs through February 25, 2010. This exhibit is sponsored in part by the Brady Craft Alliance.

Gallery hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays from 1 to 9 p.m. The gallery is closed on Mondays.

Living Arts of Tulsa is a nonprofit arts organization which is dedicated to its mission of presenting and developing contemporary art in Tulsa.

Updated 01-11-2010

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