Book of the Month
Cerebral Touch: Lia Cook, 1980-Now
Lia Cook currently has a solo exhibition of 15 woven and stitched pieces at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, which has produced this informative 28-page catalog for the show. The catalog sells for only $15.00. Cook, who recently retired from 40 years of teaching at the California College of the Arts, “has worked in collaboration with neuroscientists to investigate the nature of the emotional response to woven faces by mapping these responses in the brain. Her recent works explore the sensitivity of the woven image and the emotional connections to memories of touch and cloth” (Nancy Bavor, Museum Curator). Bavor and artist Leora Lutz wrote insightful essays for the catalog. Lutz remarks, “Lia Cook has been creating large-scale woven works that have been described as monumental. Viewers have no choice but to observe and interact with the work with their entire field of vision, with their entire body.” The exhibition closes on April 16.
My Eyes Are Down Here by Juliet Martin
ARTWORKS in Trenton, New Jersey, is featuring a provocative collection of woven pieces by Juliet Martin, with eyes everywhere challenging the viewer. How many times have you wanted to tell someone “My eyes are up here!” Martin, who often uses humor and satire in her art, seeks to nullify objectification of the female body by turning that concept on its head. She prefers to express her ideas in fibers and textiles because “weaving fabric physically and mentally attaches me to the canvas. My process is surprisingly improvisational. Decisions are made as the shuttle moves across the threads.” Martin applies the Japanese philosophy of SAORI that encourages a freeform approach: “no patterns, no rules, no mistakes.” Her solo show runs through February 18, and the opening reception is on January 28 from 6:00 to 8:00.
Zwei Herzen hab ich… (“I have two hearts…”) by Brigitte Kopp
German artist Brigitte Koch has a solo show of 24 works at the Niederlausitz Museum in Luckau, Germany (between Berlin and Dresden, for those of you in western Europe). Sometimes Kopp feels as if she has two hearts: one that beats to abstraction and one that belongs to representational drawing created with machine-stitched lines. This dihcotomy leads to artwork in two different styles. But she always produces collages, wall objects, and sculpture sewn from layers of textiles, painted and embroidered. Brigitte Kopp describes her work as “comments and stories about people and the world,” often critiquing political and social choices affecting the environment. Her goal is “to arouse the emotions of the viewers, bringing them closer to the work and its theme.” A few years ago I met Brigitte in Berlin and was very mpressed by her artistic focus. Zwei Herzen hab ich closes on April 17.
Abstract Quilts in Solids by Gwen Marston
The La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum (La Conner, Washington) is exhibiting 29 stunning quilts by colorist Gwen Marston, whose surfaces hover between antique Amish quilts and the Color Field paintings of Mark Rothko. Marston explains her approach to quilt art: “When making contemporary, abstract quilts, I work almost exclusively with solid fabrics. I prefer solids for a host of reasons, none more important than the fact the line and form are more clearly defined. Solids emphasize the delineation between shapes whereas prints can blur the edges of adjoining shapes. With much of my work I first decide on the basic form I’m going to use to construct the piece (such as working in rows, or beginning in the center and working outward). Then I think about color and scale, and once I have worked out those general ideas, I start building the parts and designing the quilt as I am constructing it in an improvisational way.” The show runs until March 26.
Cary Wolinsky: Fiber of Life
This solo photography exhibition presents a series of visually arresting textile images. Wolinsky’s career as a photojournalist for National Geographic magazine has taken him all over the world and yielded numerous historical, scientific, and photographic essays. But it was a 1972 trip to India that sparked his decades-long exploration of the culture of textiles. Wolinsky’s evocative images in his Fiber of Life series richly convey the impact of textile usage and production on eradicating societal boundaries and fostering human connection. His images are executed with skill and a keen eye for beauty, while serving to chronicle the human experience as seen through the lens of textile traditions across the globe. Through June 25 at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts.