Sunday, November 23, 2014

The city-inspired quilts of Erin Wilson

It was suggested to me at the opening of my recent show that I consider making larger work.

I actually agree that my imagery and bold colour would suit a bigger size. It might even sell better. The largest of my cityscapes measured 30" x 40" and it sold; my usual size is considerably smaller. There are several technical considerations that are holding me back, related to the way I construct my art quilts.

Big Quilt 2, Erin Wilson  56 x 56
Brooklyn-based art quilter Erin Wilson has found a way to make architectural-themed work in a larger size. I discovered Erin's work through her current show at The Art Quilt Gallery NYC. Titled "Color Stories: Quilts by Erin Wilson", her show runs until December 13.

Color Story: October Red, Erin Wilson,  42 x 54
One of Erin's series, Color Stories, is designed with 3-inch blocks, each bordered with a solid colour. The way the blocks are assembled creates a beautiful transition of colour from one area to the next. The squares themselves are pieced, creating small architectural motifs.

Big Quilt 1, Erin Wilson, 56" x 56"
More recently, her series Big Quilts uses 14" blocks. Because they are not bordered, when they are assembled they do not have the same flow from block to block. It's a crisper look, with the focus more on the individual compositions and how their coloured shapes relate to each other.

Erin writes,
"Most of my work is unmounted. Very small pieces are stretched. I do not use paper piecing or foundations of any sort. The quilting on the small scale pieces (Color Stories, etc.) is hidden in the seamlines. The big quilts are quilted with an overall grid. For me, quilting is purely functional and I do not wish to add another layer of design to the already complex piecing."
What I admire about Erin's work are the simplified architectural shapes and the sure handling of colour and composition. She has found a way to make larger work but still use relatively small pieces of cloth. She can also build the large piece from easier-to-handle smaller units. By using blocks, she references traditional quilts but with a real modernity in her imagery.

So pleased to discover the work of this talented young artist!


Maggi said...

Thanks for the introduction to Erin. I do like the work that you have shown here. Are her larger pieces mounted or hung like 'quilts'?

Heather Dubreuil said...

I don't know, Maggi. At 56" x 56", I would imagine they are hung like quilts. I would also be curious to know what kind of quilting she has done on them. Not evident from the website. When I go to New York in January, perhaps I will be lucky enough to see some of her work.