Marilyn is a lifelong New Yorker who lives and works in Greenwich Village, not far from Washington Square Park. She has been active in the New York art scene since the early 195os and interacted with such art world luminaries as Joseph Cornell, Claes Oldenburg, Tom Wesselman, the Abstract Expressionists, and the Beat Poets.
Her wide ranging fiber art, which includes pieced quilts, is represented in the collections of the Central Museum of Textiles in Lodz, Poland, the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska, the Museum of Arts & Design in New York, the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky, the Newark Museum, and the Racine Art Museum as well as in numerous corporate and private collections. Click on any of the quilts below to see more of her work.
On view through April 10, 2016 at The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, United Kingdom
An exhibition of stunning new work, some of which I am offering for sale.
Click here to read an article about the exhibition on the Wall Street International web site.
Exhibition photo by Jason Hynes, The Bowes Museum.
I am pleased to offer SOUND AND FURY, a rare and unusual 1996 wool quilt by Michael James.
The work, which measures 55 x 84 inches (h x w) is made almost entirely of wool, which makes it quite rare in Michael James's oeuvre. In an email to me, Michael explained that "one of those interior yellow forms MAY be cotton, just can’t recall. But I can confirm for sure that the turquoise and the mud colors are wool. It is related to another quilt [YELLOW BRICK ROAD] that's now in the International Quilt Study Center Museum, which is gold and black. It is machine pieced and machine embroidered. All those gold 'sticks' are separately machine embroidered (zigzagged) and so that constitutes the 'quilting.' I was thinking a lot about Amish quilts at the time, hence the use of wool gabardine."
As pointed out in the book Michael James: Art and Inspiration, SOUND AND FURY "has many of the hallmarks of a landscape painting—in this case suggested by the raised horizon line where the orange patches interact.The olive and blue forms suggest a foreground receding to background."
NEW ARRIVALS: ART QUILTS is now on view at the Baltimore Museum of Art
This special exhibition includes three quilts obtained from or with the help of The Art of the Quilt.
Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade
Four articles I wrote about art quilts for the SAQA Journal are now available together in pdf form. Click here to read them.
Three artists represented by The Art of the Quilt—Jane Burch Cochran,Judith Larzelere, and Joe Cunningham—were invited to participate in an exhibition in Finland, and traveled there for the opening on June 5.
The exhibition, whichwas titled "Quilt Visions: American Modern Quilt Art" and includes work by only eight artists, were on display at the Oulu Museum of Art through August 30, 2015. The Museum says this was "the most comprehensive exhibition focusing on quilt art in Northern Europe to date." Congrats to all three artists!
Joe Cunningham with his quilt Luke Haynes in His American Context.
2012, cotton, batting, bias tape, 6.2 x 6.2 ft.; Photo: Mark Tuschman for American Craft.
Here are two wonderful and timely new quilts by Katherine Knauer.
Elizabeth Gurrier was a pioneering textile artist who is best known for her whimsical, intricately stitched whitework quilts and soft sculptures.Her work has been exhibited internationally at many museums and galleries around the US and is included in the collections of the Renwick Gallery of the American Museum of Art/Smithsonian Institution, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and the International Quilt Study Center & Museum.
Michael James, who featured examples of Gurrier's whitework in his books The Quiltmaker's Handbook and The Second Quiltmaker's Handbook, described it as pushing "stuffed work to its limit as soft sculpture," and added: "Historically, rich detail and exquisite workmanship were hallmarks of the all-white quilt. Elizabeth Gurrier carries on this tradition in [her] innovative pieces."
Gurrier was a remarkably creative and innovative artist, who created whitework and hand painted quilts and wall hangings, soft sculpture figures, pillows, handbags, boxes, and other forms. Click here to see examples of all her currently available work.
The only truly comprehensive book on American quilts and quiltmaking.
384 pages, more than 350 stunning photographs of quilts from 1780 to 2013.
"An enduring work."
—Bernard L. Herman, George B. Tindall Professor of American Studies, University of North Carolina, CHOICE, May 2010.
"Surely the most important quilt book ever."
—Laura Fisher, author of Quilts of Illusion and Home Sweet Home: The House in American Folk Art
"So outstanding that words practically fail me."
—Mary Leman Austin, former Executive Editor, Quilter's Newsletter
"The story of American quiltmaking is eloquently told here."
"Everyone interested in quilts should have this."
Ros Cross is an English-born artist who moved to Los Angeles in the early 1970s, where she encountered American quilts for the first time. Her work with quilts
was a journey of discovery and exploration into unknown territory, testing the formal and conceptual boundaries of quiltmaking practice, with almost no reference to the conventional forms, methods, and history of the traditional American quilt movement. It was almost as if she was looking to connect the worlds of contemporary art practice to the the more traditional world of quilts, with results that in hindsight can be seen to be not only a successful and innovative merging of these hitherto different worlds, but that also point to the beginning of what has come to be known as the Art Quilt movement.
Although Cross only worked in the medium for a few years and has made no quilts since 1976, the significance of the works made during this brief period attest to the perspicacity and innovation of her approach, and her work holds a significant and influential position in the early history of the Art Quilt movement.
CRAFT IN AMERICA: INDUSTRY
INDUSTRY - Handmade in the Creative Economy
INDUSTRY features Gee's Bend quilters Lucy Mingo & Mary Ann Pettway, quilter Joe Cunningham, boat builder Graham McKay & Lowell's Boat Shop, and others.
Watch it here.
Extraordinary New Quilts by Susan Shie and Robin Schwalb
Mandela: 3 of Paring Knives in the Kitchen Tarot
Detail of Foxglove
I am thrilled to welcome Velda Newman to The Art of the Quilt!
Velda is rightfully renowned for her vastly oversized, painterly, close-up images of flowers, fruit, birds, butterflies, fish, and sea shells. Several of her quilts are more than 10 feet wide, and one of her most recent quilts, Zinnia, tops 17.5 feet! Velda explains that: "Many classic works of art depict nature on a scale smaller than real life. A landscape places you in a relatively distant position, and even a still life may portray the subject at less than its actual size. I do just the opposite: I take life and amplify it.”
Click here to see Velda's available quilts.
I am delighted to offer four more works—three quilts and a possibly unique paper and cloth study—by pioneering artist Pamela Studstill.
During the 1980s, Pamela Studstill's remarkable body of work established her as a member of a group of pioneering artists who broke the traditional bounds of quiltmaking and launched it into today's art world. Studstill's #21 won Best of Show at the 1983 Quilt National exhibition, and she was awarded National Endowment for the Arts Visual Arts Fellowships in 1983 and 1988. She also was one of fourteen artists invited to make quilts for the genre-defining 1987 exhibition "The Art Quilt," curated by Penny McMorris and Michael Kile. Quilts by Pamela Studstill are in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution's American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery; the Museum of Arts & Design in New York City; the Ardis and Robert James Collection at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum, (which includes six of her quilts); the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and the John M. Walsh III Collection of Contemporary Art Quilts.
Studstill, who is no longer making quilts, was one of the masters, and these hand dyed and hand painted pieces are all superb examples of her work.
I am delighted to welcome Katherine Knauer to The Art of the Quilt. Katherine is inspired by traditional quilt patterns and textile techniques, but she frequently prints her own fabric in order to layer-in imagery taken from contemporary headlines. Her work is quirky, wry, and graphically compelling, and her workmanship, which usually includes extensive hand quilting, is extraordinary.
The photo at left is of Katherine and her quilt Solar City at Quilt National 2013. Solar City depicts an optimistic vision of a solar powered city of the future. I am currently offering sixteen examples of Katherine's work in a range of themes, sizes, and prices. For more info and photos, please visit Katherine's artist page.
I am delighted to welcome John Lefelhocz, Joy Saville, and Robin Schwalb
to The Art of the Quilt.
John Lefelhocz is a conceptual artist whose constructions challenge traditional notions of what materials a quilt can be made from and what it can mean.
Joy Saville is a renowned colorist who creates uniquely constructed, impressionistic pieced quilts.
Robin Schwalb explores the rich variety of the written word in her graphically compelling quilts and fabric collages.
Please visit each artist's home page and explore the rich bodies of work we are now offering.
Pause, Nancy Erickson
I am delighted to be able to offer a number of recent quilts by Nancy Erickson, all of which depict wild animals and comment on their relationships with us humans. All of Nancy's recent "quilteds," as she calls them, are free-form wholecloth works which take the shapes of the animals, humans, and objects she portrays.Many of them, including Pause, shown at left, are made up of two or more pieces, and one of them has eight separate pieces. Visit Nancy's artist's page for more info and photos.
I am deeply saddened to share the news that the pioneering quiltmaker Radka Donnell died peacefully on February 13 in Zurich, Switzerland, where she had lived for many years. She was 84. Radka was one of the most extraordinary people it has been my privilege to know, and I have been honored to represent her work to the public.
Radka, who started making quilts in 1965, was a trail blazer whose work and example influenced and encouraged many of today's leading quilt artists. Her quilts were utterly distinctive
Michael James, a longtime friend who greatly admired her work, wrote: "Radka Donnell's quilts break many of the rules that have governed how quilts were designed and made for much of the last two hundred years and longer. They pay little heed to grids or to symmetry. Their colors are riotously and impulsively juxtaposed. They eschew fine stitching in favor of the functional and the no-nonsense. They avoid the familiar small-scale, genteel prints normally associated with quilts in favor of large-scale, graphically assertive patterns. The bold surfaces of these fabrics compete with and against one another, in frenetic dances of exaggerated visual energy.”
To learn more about Radka Donnell and her quilts, click here.
Radka Donnell with her husband, the
architectural historian Dolf Vogt, in 2003.
(Photo courtesy Michael James)
Peace at Last from The Paradise Dozen
The Winter 2013 SAQA Journal includes a cover story on Jane Burch Cochran. The cover quilt is Jane's Legacy, a portrait of her beloved dog Junior, who served as the mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, where Jane and her husband Randy live, from 1995 until his death in 2008.
The article, which was based on interviews with Jane, offers many insights into her work and methods. She explains that she doesn't usually draw her ideas, "in part because texture is so much a part of my work. [Instead,] I start pinning pieces to [my design] board and look for strong images that can be focal points.” She also reveals that she does not always have an exact narrative in mind as she works on a piece. “The viewer puts the story together. I don’t start out thinking it’s the story of my life, but quilts are so personal and I use things from my life. When I finish apiece and look at it, sometimes I realize it’s a self-portrait.”
Jane trained as a painter and still works on lightweight artist canvas, which she prepares with gesso. She says she likes the canvas because it is "forgiving," it hangs well, and it can hold the many objects she adheres with paint.She also explains that she works "mostly with commercial fabrics and many different kinds of fibers.“I’ve never liked the texture of all flat cotton. One of my favorite stashes came from a friend of my mother-in-law. She altered fur coat sand gave me sample books of silks used for linings. I don’t have much of that left— just some scraps and slivers —but I use them when I can because I like their texture.”
The Winter 2013 SAQA Journal is currently available only to Studio Art Quilt Associates members but will probably be available as a free downloadable sample after the Spring issue is published.
I now have copies of Pauline Burbidge's new catalog, Pauline Burbidge: Works Between 1975 & 2012. Designed to accompany her recent PB Retrospective exhibition in the UK, the 42-page booklet charts the stages of Pauline's artistic development over her 36-year career. The main essay was written by Dr. Sue Marks, with prologues by Dr. Jennifer Harris and yours truly (aka Robert Shaw). It is beautifully designed and lavishly illustrated in color throughout. A copy can be yours for $21.50 postpaid.
If you would like to order a copy, please contact me.
The January 2 edition of the Wall Street Journal includes a short article about art quilt collector Jack Walsh and Jack's Falling Water, a quilt he commissioned Gayle Fraas and Duncan Slade to make for him. Be sure to look at the slide show, which offers pix of some of Jack's other treasures.
I am delighted to welcome Jane Burch Cochran to The Art of the Quilt.
Jane Burch Cochran, who has been making quilts the mid 1980s, is a master of collage and embellishment whose work is represented in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery, the University of Kentucky Art Museum, the Kentucky History Center, and the National Quilt Museum as well as in numerous corporate and private collections. I am pleased to be offering a wide rang of her work, including a recent series of small abstract face quilts, two of which she is seen with below.
A Monumental 1983 quilt by Pamela Studstill
I am pleased to offer the largest known work by pioneering quilt artist Pamela Studstill. Measuring a full 15 feet wide, this work was commissioned for a now closed IBM facility and will make a powerful statement in the right space today.
New! Quiltscapes by Pauline Burbidge: Inspired by Lindisfarne, England, and Puglia, Italy
English master Pauline Burbidge has created four major new studio quilts in the past three years, three of which The Art of the Quilt is now honored to offer for sale. All three will be included in Pauline's upcoming retrospective exhibition,"PB RETRO: Interpretations in Cloth." The exhibition will open at the Festival of Quilts in Manchester, England , from August 16–19, and travel to the Quilt Museum in York, England, where it will be on view from September 7–December 1, 2012.
The poet Alice Mitchell gave Pauline the name for her new series, which she calls "Quiltscapes": in Mitchell's words, "landscape sewn." Two of the new quilts were inspired by the tide-washed causeway that connects the island of Lindisfarne, also known as Holy Island, to the Northumberland coast in northeastern England, while another evokes Pauline's recent trips to Puglia, an unspoiled rural region on the heel of southern Italy's boot.
I am delighted to welcome Ludmila Uspenskaya to The Art of the Quilt.
Ludmila Uspenskaya a is a remarkable Russian-born textile artist who has been making distinctive quilts since the early 1990s. She did not encounter Western quilts until just before moving to the US in 1994, and she has developed unique working methods to create her visually stunning abstract designs.
Click here or on her photo below to read more about Ludmila and see a selection of her work.
I am honored to offer quilts from the collection of Jonathan Shannon.
Jonathan is himself one of the world's most renowned quiltmakers; two of his quilts, AIR SHOW and AMIGOS MUERTOS , were voted among the "100 Best American
Quilts of the 20th Century" in 1999. (Coincidentally, both of those quilts will be included in Man-Made Quilts: Civil War to the Present, a special exhibition at the Shelburne Museum this year.)
Jonathan's great eye and eclectic taste led him to collect a wide variety of contemporary quilts over the years,all of which are now for sale. He purchased and commissioned quilts from a number of his friends and colleagues, including Michael James, Therese May, Françoise Barnes, Nancy Erickson, Caryl Bryer Fallert, Ludmila Uspenskaya, Hystercine Rankin, Soizik Labbens, Chas Marlin, Laura Lee Fritz, Ruth Reynolds (RIVA), and Kate Adams.
Please click here to see all the quilts from the Shannon Collection.
He also collected a masterpiece by the renowned African-American quiltmaker Hystercine Rankin, who died in 2010. Mrs. Rankin, who lived in Lorman, Mississippi, learned quilting from her grandmother at the age of twelve and started making quilts to keep her family warm. In her later years, she taught others to quilt at Mississippi Cultural Crossroads in Port Gibson, Mississippi, and was a member of the Crossroads Quilters. She was recognized for her accomplishments in 1997 when the National Endowment of the Arts awarded her a National Heritage Fellowship.
Mrs. Rankin's father was murdered by white men in 1939 when she was ten years old. She said she had gone to the pond to get her father water when four gunshots rang out."I thought it was hunting," she said. She said the family never learned why her father had been killed, and no one was ever charged with the crime. "He stayed in the road until the log truck came and picked him up. Blacks were afraid to come to the funeral," she added.
Here is Mrs. Rankins's moving memory quilt AFTER MY FATHER'S FUNERAL, which tells the story of how her life changed after that tragic event.
I am delighted to offer METAMORPHOSIS, a large and powerful early work by Michael James, arguably the most important quilt artist at work today.
The diamond-shaped quilt measures more than 9 1/2 feet between its top to bottom tips and hangs on a specially designed A-shaped frame.
Michael James has long been recognized as one of the world's leading quiltmakers. Examples of his work are included in numerous private and corporate collections
as well the collections of the Newark Museum, the Museum of Arts & Design in New York, the Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art (Smithsonian Institution) in Washington, D.C., the Mint Museum of Craft + Design in Charlotte, North Carolina, the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky, and the
International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska. Michael currently serves as Department Chair and Ardis James Professor of Textiles, Clothing
and Design in the College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Nebraska/Lincoln
METAMORPHOSIS, which Michael made in 1983, is 84 inches square and measures 115 inches between its top and bottom tips. It is mounted to hang diagonally on a
special A-shaped frame. The composition is a complex combination of curved and straight seams, all rendered with Michael's trademark precision and acute sense of color.
METAMORPHOSIS was originally commissioned for the headquarters of a major US corporation. After many years on exhibit, it was in need of some repair and has just been conserved by Michael's studio assistant, Leah Sorensen-Hayes, who worked under his close supervision. She repaired some tears and replaced some degraded fabric, in many cases using matching pieces of the original fabric that Michael still had in his studio stash. (Full documentation of the work done on the quilt is available.).The quilt is now effectively new and looks as fresh and crisp as it did when it first left Michael's studio nearly thirty years ago.
Michael' s early quilts are tightly held in public and private collections and very rarely come into the marketplace.This is a major early work by Michael and a truly rare opportunity for any serious collector of contemporary quilts.
METAMORPHOSIS is SOLD
I was saddened to learn that Ardis James died on July 7. No one has done more for quilts and quiltmakers than Ardis, who, with her husband Bob, collected more than a thousand antique and contemporary pieces and founded the International Quilt Study Center & Museum at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. The NY TImes printed a lovely obit, which tells her story far better han I can. She was a remarkable woman, and every quilt lover and maker owes her a debt of thanks for so generously sharing her passion.
Here's a link to a wonderful lecture about quilts and two-dimensional design by the painter and art professor David
Every quiltmaker and person interested in how quilts work and why they matter should watch this. The images are small and pixilate a little when blown up, but they are clear enough to understand, and what Hornung has to say is fascinating. Hornung knows quilts inside out: he made a few wonderful quilts in the 1980s, one of which, "Orange Construction," is in the collection of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln, NE, where he gave this lecture.
David Hornung is also the author of a terrific book on color, which I also recommend highly.
The Art of the Quilt is now offering an expanded range of special exhibitions of both historic and contemporary quilts.
Our offerings include several wonderful shows curated by Julie SIlber, the curator of the legendary Esprit Quilt Collection and one of the world's leading experts on Amish and other historic quilts.
Please download the pdf below for detailed information about the exhibitions and how to bring one of them to your museum or venue.
I am delighted to welcome Judith Larzelere to The Art of the Quilt.
Judith studied painting at Rutgers, where she earned her MFA, and has been making distinctive abstract quilts full time since 1978. Her work is included in the collections of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska, and the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky, and in the corporate collections of Bristol Myers/Squibb, SAS, the First National Bank of Boston, and the Federal Reserve Bank in Philadelphia.
For the past fourteen months, Judith has been working on a series of quilts that rely on chance placement of colors. These powerful new quilts, three of which are pictured below, do not emphasize the form and structure of traditional design principles. Judith explains, "For the past thirty years, I have been using cloth and color more or less as an expressionist, concerning myself with movement, color interaction, and the creation of mood. I now feel the need to move into new territory beyond my own familiar strategies. My newest quilts are contain the barest minimum of traditional elements of an art piece so that I can focus exclusively on creating a vibrating color field. Colors with varying ability to advance off the picture plane are chosen in order to create spatiality without form, composition, or subject.”
Luminosity with Purple and Green, 2011 SOLD
Contact Bob for more information or to purchase.
I am pleased to offer THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE QUILT/SCREEN , a unique and remarkable quilted art work by Justine Nauman-Greif.
Justine made this complex, multi-layered work of sadness, awareness, and hope in 1995, while she was writing a college thesis on domestic violence and the quilt as
metaphor. A quilted fabric Mobius strip stands at the center of the quilt as a metaphor for the social “fabric” of domestic violence. Dancing women, representing those who have escaped the continuous cycle of violence, dance in the black and blue universe outside the strip. Eight neat appearing house facades touching the strip hide the violence that takes place inside them; their window are black and their doors are closed.. However, each of the houses opens on a velcro hinge to reveal words and pictorial scenarios taken from stories told by abused women whom Justine interviewed. These include: “I was stalked from town to town,” ”They just thought it was our business, and they didn't want to get involved,” “I got all packed to leave and I realized I had nowhere to go,” and “he kicked the bathroom door .. the mirror shards were everywhere... my hand was bleeding.” A statement by The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence is also hidden within one of the houses. Three narrative interviews are printed on fabric windows on the back of the quilt, and ghostly images of women are quilted over the printing on the window panes, representing all that is left of their sense of themselves.
The Domestic Violence Quilt/Screen is pictured and discussed in my 1997 book The Art Quilt.
Cottons, velcro, and fabric paint, mounted with glue on a folding wooden ladder frame with fabric hinges. Hand and machine appliqué, hand and machine quilted, some figures hand painted, computer printed text.
72 x 66 inches (H X W) Each of the three panels is 20 inches wide.
Contact Bob for more information or to purchase.
I am very sad to learn of the passing of Jean Ray Laury, who died on Wednesday March 2.
Jean was the godmother of modern quiltmaking, a quiet and modest force of incalculable strength and influence. She was a friend to everyone who met her, and she will be sorely missed by everyone she touched with her remarkable spirit, her art, and her example.