Surface Expressions Walkthrough by Eve Jacobs-Carnahan
April 5, 2017
The Vermont chapter of SDA organized three exhibits in 2016. These shows were done in part with support from an SDA Small Event Grant. The final one, Surface Expressions, filled the two-story mansion of the Chaffee Art Center in Rutland, Vermont with colorful and engaging artwork. In connection with the exhibition, Eve Jacobs-Carnahan gave a gallery talk to help viewers increase their understanding and appreciation of fiber art. Featured below are some highlights and images of the exhibition.
The exhibition presented work employing a wide variety of techniques—including weaving, tapestry, embroidery, quilting, and knitting. Building on the audience’s knowledge of painting, collage, and sculpture, many of the artists use fabric and stitches to create art in ways one might use pen, paint, clay, or stone.
Several of the works demonstrate the power of fabric, filled with lush color and pattern. Marya Lowe, Judy Dales, Rosalind Daniels, and Janet Ressler all use fabrics collected over many years in their pieced, appliquéd, and quilted works. Stitching draws the fabric out from the flat plane, creating raised and depressed areas.
Texture is a key component in the work of Elizabeth Fram, where fine embroidered marks contrast areas of smooth silk. Though smooth in surface, the silk is patterned by shibori dying, creating intricate lines of color.
Seeing the similarities between shibori dying in Marilyn Gillis’ stitched work and Kathryn Price’s ikat-dyed scarves, the discussion of dying continued when viewing Linda Finkelstein’s stitched collage paper which was dyed with rust, dirt, and plant materials.
The show’s sparkle of humor was apparent in the sculptural works. Leslie Roth’s sculpture of the mythological minotaur had a body made of paper pulp and an intricate knitted head. Sharon Webster’s assemblage of long-handled nets catching tiny paperback books made everyone smile. Eve Jacobs-Carnahan’s knitted sculpture of a shorebird showed the depth of color that can be achieved by blending many colors of wool.
Inspired by sunsets, Almuth Palinkas created and conjured a tapestry of an impressionistic landscape made from wool yarn. Viewers were able to see the ways different methods of weaving create unusual textures by contrasting Palinkas’ use of the Moorman weaving technique with the plain weave tapestry of Betsy Wing’s desert landscape. The exhibition talk finished off with the textured, ruffled weaving of Ruby Leslie.
Gallery talks and walkthroughs are a wonderful way to educate gallery visitors—providing viewers with insights into the art making process and the techniques provides a richer appreciation of the work.
The previous exhibitions created by the Vermont SDA chapter include:
- Surface Expressions, November 9 – December 9, 2016 at the Chaffee Art Center, Rutland, Vermont
- Visionary Conspiracy, July 26-August 27, 2016 at Studio Place Arts, Barre, Vermont
- Material Matters, June 1-28, 2016 at the Frog Hollow Craft Center, Burlington, Vermont
To find out more about SDA Grants, go to https://www.surfacedesign.org/members/awards-grants/, with applications deadlines on March 1, June 1, September 1, November 1, 2017.