Art Quilts: Contemporary expressions from the collection of John M. Walsh III at the Morris Museum
MORRISTOWN, N.J.- More than 35 art quilts from the collection of New Jersey resident John M. Walsh III will be on view at the Morris Museum from January 13 through April 25, 2010. Representing the creative genius of highly skilled and academically trained studio artists, Art Quilts: Contemporary Expressions from the Collection of John M. Walsh III explores the intriguing fusion of materials and techniques that are redefining the contemporary quilt movement. The artists whose work appears in this exhibition have pioneered innovative design and construction techniques, transforming textiles into objects of phenomenal expressive depth.
Art Quilts and the Artists
This exhibition celebrates art quilts as compelling works of art. These quilts were created by highly skilled and academically trained studio artists who have pioneered innovative design and construction techniques, transforming textiles into objects of phenomenal expressive depth. The artists featured in this exhibition include renowned quilt artists such as Teresa Agnew, Nancy Crow, Michael James, Karen Perrine and Joy Saville as well as artists who are lesser known in the field. New Jersey is represented in the exhibition by Joy Saville of Princeton, and Princeton Junction-based artist Carol Schepps. The quilts on view range from painterly landscapes to narrative works, to colorful abstractions and distinctly sculptural forms. Fiber may be combined with ceramics, wood, or digital imagery, moving this artistic expression from its roots in the folk tradition to a fully realized and often experimental expression of fiber arts.
The Art Quilts exhibition is organized into five sections to foster greater understanding of the art quilt medium:
(1)That’s Art? This first section of the exhibition champions art quilts as a valid and visually compelling art form that retains a clear connection to the folk art quilts from which they originated. These quilts also celebrate studio art quilting as a vital component of the fiber arts.
(2) Methods and Materials While art quilts retain the structural characteristics of a quilt – composed of fabric with two distinct layers that are bound together – art quilters greatly expanded the construction methods used, and incorporated new and unusual materials. The quilts on viewinclude a variety of construction methods, ranging from the unique strip piece method of artist Joy Saville to the use of computer technology to create images not possible by other means. Other works in this section are embellished with buttons, beads, mirrors, ceramics, thin layers of wood, oil and acrylic paint, and the inventive use of old materials.
(3) The Natural World This section explores how nature has inspired art quilters with a great variety of visual forms, patterns and perspectives. Velda Newman, whose oversized Geranium greets visitors at the entrance to the exhibition, takes a realistic approach. Other artists, such as Pauline Burbidge and Therese May, depict the natural world more abstractly, while Karen Perrine incorporates a more painterly style, reflecting the influence of Japanese art and nature photography.
(4) Narrative Quilts This section features art quilts that relate stories in which imagery is influenced by the message the artist hopes to convey. For example, in The Sower, Denise Burge celebrates the strength of her grandmother depicted as the dominant image of a crow. The mixed media work of Susan Shie contains intimate diaries of a personal nature, along with commentary on contemporary concerns.
(5) Inspirations This section includes a selection of works that exemplify some of the artists’ sources of inspiration – from seemingly traditional quilt patterns to graphic design to maps and architecture. Throughout the exhibition are examples in which quilt artists have drawn inspiration from great masters of the art world, including Monet, Seurat, and Georgia O’Keeffe.