Sunday, 30 October 2011

Masters Art Quilts Vol. 2

Sunday has arrived cloaked in grey. A perfect day for sipping the delights of Masters Art Quilts Vol 2 which has been curated by Martha Sielman of Studio Art Quilts Associates (SAQA) published by Lark Crafts. Masters is 414 pages of sumptuously illustrated major works by forty artists including Jane Dunnewold, Laura Wasilowski, Dianne Firth and Alice Beasley. For me, this book is a must-have reference for art quilters and textile artists alike. I am particularly taken with Alice Beasley's work - her ability to encapsulate the rawness of human emotion with hand cut equally raw-edge applique.  Alice's 1994 quilt Home Street Home is featured in Masters. It depicts a homeless war veteran lying on the footpath with a half smoked cigarette, old newspaper and sign for company. A doll carrying, young girl  walks off the left hand edge of the quilt. Alice exquisitely contrasts the vulnerability and stillness of the homeless man against the haste and speed of the passing girl.  Alice frequently uses the tool of extension whereby a small part or piece, such as a foot or elbow, pokes out of the quilt. In Home Street Home the girl appears to literally be walking from the quilt and into our world, pulling the confronting imagery with her into the forefront of our thinking. I love the way in which Alice has used privilege to challenge the viewer's consideration of race (white girl/black man), young over old, a taker over one who has sacrificed to support that privilege, upright over prostrate - the artist challenges us on many levels through this quilt.   Alice uses print fabrics and free cuts them to create what she calls "objective realism". 

Detail - Home Street Home (1994) From a photo by Jim Jacobs
Masters Art Quilts Vol 2, p. 189

Another inspirational artist is Laura Wasilowski who's quilts are created from her own hand dyed fabrics. Laura uses vibrant colours - especially orange, turquoise and green and uses machine and hand quilting for added emphasis.  Quirky, fun and cheeky. Laura uses scraps that she describes as "starter dough" and talks of the endless possibilities that arise from their use. My favourite from Masters is Reading Lamp (2009) the style of which reminds me of Vincent Van Gogh (although I get that reading lamps are very much post VVG).  I love the way Laura's use of colour is playful and how her quilts celebrate the ordinary, bringing them to new life in her art quilts.

Detail - Reading Lamp (2009) From a photo by George Tarbay
Masters Art Quilts Vol 2, p. 249

(Masters Art Quilts Vol 2 was provided for review by Lark Crafts)

No comments: