Susan Iverson’s “The Color of No”
Lauren Sinner June 19, 2019
An exhibition of work by Susan Iverson titled The Color of No opened at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond on Friday, April 12 and closed June 2nd. Iverson is an artist and master weaver, known for her innovative approach to tapestry. She taught in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Craft + Material Studies for 40 years, retiring in 2015. The Color of No presented more than 40 tapestries produced by Iverson over the last five years.
“It’s an honor for us to exhibit an artist who has made such an incredible impact on both Richmond and the wider arts community,” said Stefanie Fedor, executive director of the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. “Susan last exhibited with us in 1988 and it’s inspiring to see where her career has taken her in the years since.”
For this solo exhibition, Iverson explores the deceptive complexity of the word “no.” It’s a loaded word that can be empathetic and even soothing. It can register surprise or delight, shock or disappointment. It can stand alone as a one-word sentence yet requires context to be fully understood.
Iverson uses shifts in composition, form, scale and, perhaps most crucially, color to explore the word’s context and relay meaning. In this era of protest and polarization, as we ask questions about refusal and consent, the intimate, human-scaled tapestries that make up The Color of No resonate with all of us.
Iverson weaves her tapestries on a Gilmore loom, using natural materials including wool, silk, linen, mohair, and cotton, which she hand-dyes using a variety of dye techniques to achieve vibrant hues.
“Over the years the subject matter for my tapestries has changed but my passion for weaving and my strong interest in the physical properties of tapestry have remained constant,” said Iverson.
Iverson has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. She was awarded the Theresa Pollak Award in 2011. Iverson earned her Master of Fine Arts from Philadelphia’s Tyler School of Art at Temple University and her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Colorado State University. She lives and works in Hanover County, Virginia.
The Visual Arts Center of Richmond is a 56-year-old community arts center located in Richmond, Virginia. Each year, the organization offers 1,000 visual and creative arts classes, hosts four major exhibitions by contemporary artists and touches the lives of 40,000 people. The True F. Luck Gallery at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.