All photos provided by Lark Craft
I just went back and read what I had to say in my review of Masters Art Quilts, Vol. 1 and perhaps I could just say,”Ditto, buy it, buy it now.” I won’t feel badly if you just go here and buy this second volume featuring forty artists who both pioneered and are pioneering exactly what the potential of an art quilt can be.
Martha Sielman, Executive Director of Studio Art Quilt Associates, has once again done a superb job of distilling in ten pages the who, what, and why of each of the forty artists. Sielman notes in her introduction that she tries to keep her curatorial comments concise, but artists often spoke to her of incidents in their lives that resonate in their work.
I say bring on more of those stories, Martha! I have Leslie Gabrielse’s book, but I either whipped by it or didn’t focus on his itinerant childhood that may be reflected in the often wistful expressions of the people in his artwork.
The forty artists are from around the world with just over half from the U.S. I was most intrigued, in general, by the work from artists not in the U.S. But, hey, blame that on seeing works from artists such as Tim Harding, Jane Dunnewold, Elizabeth Busch, etc. covered extensively and over a number of years in the U.S.
Landscape in Gray
Often books about art quilts veer from featuring dark artworks such as those from Shulamit Liss featuring, “A brooding palette that includes ocher, black, gray, and brown. . . .” Well, kudos to Martha for writing that lovely sentence and knowing that although the artwork may be somewhat difficult to see in a printed format, it is work that deserves to be seen and appreciated on its own terms. I would have loved to have seen bigger and more detail shots of almost all the artwork and darker artwork always benefits the most from this important feature.
Le Mantra III: Missing Messages
As in Vol. 1, these are pure quibbles compared to the delight and edification to be found in this volume. I was intrigued by artwork by almost all the artists, but three of my favs’ artwork (Mirjam Pet-Jacobs, Pamela Fitzsimons and Finella Davies) are featured throughout this review. These artists have a very personal vision which they are rendering in cloth in new and unusual ways.
You will have your own favorites as there is such an abundance and variety of artwork. People often misunderstand the motivation of a good juror or curator. It is not to choose artwork that is personally appealing, but to choose artwork by an artist that clearly shows a mature and developed point of view and expresses that point of view in a way that will make the viewer pause and perhaps re-consider what they know about the world or the medium. Martha has succeeded for an amazing second time and I look forward to Vol. 3 of this series.