Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Color Improvisations 2 @ the Textile Museum, Toronto

Riff #4: Calm, Nancy Crow
86.25" x 87.5", 2015

Riff #4: Calm (detail), Nancy Crow86.25" x 87.5", 2015

Can you manage a visit to the The Textile Museum of Canada in the next few weeks?  I was thrilled to see one of their current shows, and wanted to share the experience by posting some photos. I've included some of the texts posted with the exhibition.

The TM is pleased to be the sole Canadian venue for Color Improvisations 2, a groundbreaking exhibition that presents a group of bold asymmetrical quilts made in 2014 and 2015. Curated by celebrated American artist, quiltmaker, and teacher Nancy Crow, the exhibition includes 25 large-scale quilts by 25 artists from Canada, Germany, Scotland, Switzerland and the United States - all of whom have studied with Crow, whose widely influential work emphasizes the graphic power of colour.

Madness, Brigitte Ammann
78.75" x 78.75", 2015

Madness (detail), Brigitte Ammann
78.75" x 78.75", 2015

Color Improvisations 2 grew out of what Nancy Crow calls her "ongoing mission to bring back the majesty, strength and energy of large textile works, specifically large quilts." She asks, "Why not work large? Why not take advantage of this wonderful attribute of the quilt?" 

"I believe that those of us who love working with fabric were originally drawn to this medium by its large forceful presence and the freedom to use color joyously." - Nancy Crow

Vibrant Color Bars, Ruth Bosshart-Rohrbach
81.5" x 86", 2015

Vibrant Color Bars (detail), Ruth Bosshart-Rohrbach
81.5" x 86", 2015

"All of the quilts that make up Color Improvisations 2 were created specifically for this exhibition, and together they represent a compelling, coherent and distinctive body of work. While the group's collective use of rich solid colors, improvisational piecing, and intricate machine quilting are all at the service of abstract design, each artist maintains a strong individual identity."

Linienspiel 13, Regula Emmenegger
78.75" x 81", 2015

Linienspiel 13 (detail), Regula Emmenegger
78.75" x 81", 2015

"As in making all art, there are starts and stops, excitement and discouragement. And there is the time of just plain slogging, sewing hundreds of tiny parts together, creating larger segments until the final piece is completed. Many more hours must be put into the quilting lines which will ultimately define the final outcome."

Shapes and Lines 19/20/21, Heide Stoll-Weber
83.5" x 79.5", 2015

Shapes and Lines 19/20/21 (detail), Heide Stoll-Weber
83.5" x 79.5", 2015

"Nancy Crow explains the process: 'The artist must have at the ready a palette of dozens, if not hundreds, of colors in cloth. The quiltmaker must be able to 'draw' instantly while using an extremely sharp cutting tool, making as few mistakes as possible. One first cuts out myriad parts on a table. Then, climbing a tall ladder, the artist begins pinning these parts onto the wall. One has to go up and down ladders multiple times over and over day after day and be able to visualize lay-outs of shapes [and] relationships of colors and values when stepping back to take a hard look.'

"Nancy Crow compares pieced quiltmaking to painting. 'Both require a strong classical sense of figure/ground composition,' she explains, 'and knowledge of how to mix and create colors (for quiltmakers, through dyeing), a strong sense of proportions, and drawing ability. Unlike painting, fabric colors, shapes, and lines are not brushed on, but sewn together. To cut parts, shapes, and lines by eye and manage color and value demands hours of practice. It takes obsessiveness, intensity, and a great eye.'"

Elizabeth Brandt, Flight Plan
88" x 85", 2015

Elizabeth Brandt (detail), Flight Plan
88" x 85", 2015

The first impression of each piece was very strong, and then came further delight in a close inspection of the quilting design, shown in the detail photos.  I was happy to buy the hardcover catalog that accompanies the exhibition, and that includes all 50 of the works in the show as it was originally staged, in Neum√ľnster, Germany, as well as biographies and artist statements.

The show continues until September 23, 2018. Three future North American exhibition venues are listed on the show's site.

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