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Monday, June 10, 2013

Quality and Diversity of Technique Characterize 10th Anniversary Quilt Exhibit at Carnegie


Form Not Function: Quilt Art at the Carnegie
Tenth Anniversary Exhibition

Review by Mary Margaret Sparks

Entire contents are copyright © 2013 Mary Margaret Sparks. All rights reserved.

I’m a textiles nut, so I’ve been looking forward to seeing the Tenth Anniversary of the Carnegie Center’s Form Not Function: Quilt Art at the Carnegie exhibition.  This annual juried show has been a staple in the Carnegie Center’s calendar and has served to broaden the concept of art quilts and gain recognition for this evolving art form.’  The Carnegie Center for Art and History has always been an advocate for textile arts, and this exhibition is no exception. I was impressed with the diversity and quality of the work on display and left with a newfound knowledge of art quilt techniques and styles. 

The large and historic gallery space in the Carnegie Center serves as the perfect backdrop for the works. Form Not Function includes works by artists from across the United States with one artist from Louisville, Melinda M. Snyder. Jurors for this year included Sue Cavanaugh, Louisville artist Pat DaRif, and Lisa L. Kriner of Berea College.

I was surprised and impressed to see the creativity that many of the artists used in their quilting processes. Screen-printing, mono-printing, painting and photography transfers are just some of the methods the artists used. In one quilt, Chinmoku: Silence by Shin-hee Chin, the artist used a Korean paper twisting technique called Ji Seung in conjunction with fabric to create an image. It is so realistic that I thought the artist had printed or silk-screened a photograph on the fabric. Instead, the artist’s use and placement of colors creates the portrait of a young woman. Each twisted piece of fabric had to be placed very specifically and the attention to detail is fascinating. 
  
Shin-hee Chin's Chinmoku: Silence.

Other work expressed social and political themes. Gender Equality by Kathleen A. McCabe shows three figures holding machine guns looking prepared to shoot or in the action of shooting. The fabric chosen and stitching technique used by the artist resembles camouflage; yet, on close inspection, the figures have pink nail polish and pink lipstick. Generosity by Linda Witte Henke is a sculptural quilt and the only three-dimensional work in the show. The figurative work draws from Henke’s faith and interest in spirituality and won the Award for Political and Social Commentary.

Kathleen A. McCabe's Gender Equality.

There were so many quilts I wanted to bring home and put on my wall, especially Sarah J. Pavlik’s Deserted, featuring two empty chairs on a white background. The chairs remind me of Van Gogh’s painting The Bedroom where the perspective seems off and the furniture appears to be floating. It’s modern and simple, yet causes the viewer to wonder.

Sara J. Pavlik's Deserted.

I underestimated the art quilts and the diversity of the work. Form Not Function: Quilt Art at the Carnegie is truly impressive and will break down any traditional stereotypes you hold about quilting. 

The exhibit will be on display through July 13, so you have plenty of time to head over to New Albany and view the show. You are invited to vote on your favorite quilt for the fan favorite award. Other awards, including Best of Show and Award of Excellence, have been given out by organizations and artists including Kathleen Loomis, Juanita Yeager, Louisville Area Fiber and Textile Artists, Today’s Woman magazine, and River City Fiber Artists.

Form Not Function: Quilt Art at the Carnegie
Tenth Anniversary Exhibition

Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

The Carnegie Center for Art and History
201 East Spring Street
New Albany IN 47150
http://www.carnegiecenter.org/exhibit_form.html

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