Where Science and Art Meet

“Picturing the Past: Paleoart 2018,” at the The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, opened this past weekend. A juried international exhibition in a variety of media, mine is the only tapestry in the exhibit. Other media include: two quilts, colored pencil drawings, acrylic paintings, cut paper and several small sculptures. About half of the 89 artworks are digital prints. A principle criteria for all work in this show is scientific accuracy, within artistic interpretations of our prehistoric past.

“The Veils of Time” tapestry fell into the category of “Prehistoric Panoramas.”

View of first room, two partial walls.

View of first room, two partial walls.

Exhibit Narrative on Prehistoric Panoramas

Exhibit Narrative on Prehistoric Panoramas

Artist statement displayed beside “The Veils of Time” tapestry

Artist statement displayed beside “The Veils of Time” tapestry

The Veils of Time  tapestry beside digital art.

The Veils of Time tapestry beside digital art.

I visited this exhibit at the Sneak Preview for the fundraising gala “Cretaceous Couture” fashion show and silent auction. I found myself drawn to the wall of trilobites, and in particular, the cut paper work on the far right.

Trilobites wall. Cut paper rendition on the far right

Trilobites wall. Cut paper rendition on the far right


I thought of my father, who would take our family on fossil-hunting expeditions, when I was very young, usually on occasional Sunday afternoons. We lived on the edge of the Flint Hills in the southeast corner of Kansas, where road cuts would reveal geologic strata. We would see a variety of invertebrate forms in the layers of limestone and shale, and if we were lucky, we would find a trilobite.

Thus I was introduced to the concept of time being so much larger than the clock face, the hours in a day and my own lifetime. As a child, I could not grasp the largeness of millennia so long ago when these invertebrate creatures were alive. As an adult artist, I keep returning to themes around geologic time in my tapestries, as though the huge number of hours spent at the loom weaving somehow can give me a glimpse into eternity.

“Visions of the Past: Paleoart 2108” is up through January 4th, 2018 at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, located at 1801 Mountain Road, NW in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Questioning Limits: Explorations in Tapestry

December 16, 2016 - January 6, 2017, featuring works by:  Ann Blankenship, Elizabeth Buckley, Mary Rawcliffe Colton, Cindy Dworzak, Linda Giesen, Naomi Julian, Dan Klinglesmith, Vivian Skadron, Jaye Whorton,  and Nancy Wohlenberg.

Opening Reception:  Friday, December 16th 5:00 - 8:00 pm

Elizabeth Buckley  Ocean Memory  Ann Blankenship  Petrichor

Elizabeth Buckley Ocean Memory Ann Blankenship Petrichor

The idea for this show began with an invitation to the Tapestry Artists of Las Aranas Spinners and Weavers Guild from University of New Mexico College of Fine Arts' Dean, Kymberly Pinder.  Mary Rawcliffe Colton spearheaded the idea of pushing the limits of our comfort zones in tapestry, whether it be with conceptual or experimental work or with design and technical challenges.  The venue space, located at the end of a six-story parking garage, was also a challenge with its main 70 foot long rectangular room of 11 foot walls,  with a small entrance area on the north end and a small 14 foot alcove at the south end.

North end of west wall; Mary Rawcliffe Colton  Ghost Bike Memorial , Elizabeth Buckley  Dialogues Through the Veil ; Entry area north wall: Cindy Dworzak  Circles ; Elizabeth Buckley  Ocean Memory

North end of west wall; Mary Rawcliffe Colton Ghost Bike Memorial, Elizabeth Buckley Dialogues Through the Veil; Entry area north wall: Cindy Dworzak Circles; Elizabeth Buckley Ocean Memory

Juried and curated by Mary Colton and Nancy Wohlenberg, with input from gallery director,  Lara Goldmann, Questioning Limits ultimately became an opportunity for each of the ten exhibiting tapestry artists not only to create new tapestries,  but also to show multiple pieces from their body of work. 

Entry South Post: Jaye Whorton  Jaguar vs. Blood Moon ; West wall continued: Mary Rawcliffe Colton  Roadsides Bloom Plastic , Ann Blankenship  Sundance with Alisha , Naomi Julian  Myriad Pathways

Entry South Post: Jaye Whorton Jaguar vs. Blood Moon; West wall continued: Mary Rawcliffe Colton Roadsides Bloom Plastic, Ann Blankenship Sundance with Alisha, Naomi Julian Myriad Pathways

Mary Rawcliffe Colton's Roadsides Bloom Plastic uses strips of plastic bags on ramie warp, Ghiordes knots.  Ann Blankenship's Sundance with Alisha incorporates wire, prayer ties, and wool.

Elizabeth Buckley  Crane  and  Fossil, Feather and Light ; Ann Blankenship  N-1: Dumpster Diving  and  Invasive Species , Naomi Julian  Creation , Ann Blankenship  N-1: Turning Sixty

Elizabeth Buckley Crane and Fossil, Feather and Light; Ann Blankenship N-1: Dumpster Diving and Invasive Species, Naomi Julian Creation, Ann Blankenship N-1: Turning Sixty

Ann Blankenship found piles of slides in a dumpster, which became integral to her two pieces:  N-1:  Dumpster Diving and N-1:  Turning Sixty (the sculpture on the floor)

Elizabeth Buckley  Fossil, Feather, and Light ; Ann Blankenship  N-1: Dumpster Diving , Ann Blankenship  Invasive Species

Elizabeth Buckley Fossil, Feather, and Light; Ann Blankenship N-1: Dumpster Diving, Ann Blankenship Invasive Species

Ann Blankenship's Invasive Species incorporates wire, wood and wool. 

Middle West Wall: Dan Klingelsmith  Plieades,  Elizabeth Buckley  Crane  and  Fossil, Feather and Light ; Ann Blankenship  N-1: Dumpster Diving  and Invasive Species, Naomi Julian  Creation ; Ann Blankenship  N-1 :Turning Sixty

Middle West Wall: Dan Klingelsmith Plieades, Elizabeth Buckley Crane and Fossil, Feather and Light; Ann Blankenship N-1: Dumpster Diving and Invasive Species, Naomi Julian Creation; Ann Blankenship N-1 :Turning Sixty

Elizabeth Buckley  Crane copyright 2016

Elizabeth Buckley Crane copyright 2016

Elizabeth Buckley wove Crane off-loom, utilizing tapestry, macramé, and warp-faced finger weaving so that she could be free to manipulate, fold, knot, or weave the threads and woven areas.  "Some of the threads served as warp for awhile, then weft.  There was no tension on the warp, although I did tape it down to keep it orderly.  I improvised a lot, breaking many rules!"

Mary Rawcliffe Colton  Lamplight Mosque , Cindy Dworzak  Matrix , Dan Klinglesmith Constellations series:  Orion, Gemini, Winter, Summer, Plieades

Mary Rawcliffe Colton Lamplight Mosque, Cindy Dworzak Matrix, Dan Klinglesmith Constellations series: Orion, Gemini, Winter, Summer, Plieades

South Wall:

LInda Giesen  Desert Dunes  and  Shifting Sands;  Ann Blankenship  Route 66

LInda Giesen Desert Dunes and Shifting Sands; Ann Blankenship Route 66

East Wall:

Linda Giesen  Wired--the Inside and Outside of Anxiety , Naomi Julian  Enchanted Mesa,  Vivian Skadron  Sunset Over Albuquerque , Nancy Wohlenberg  Rift Valley Center Place I and II ;  Blue Tree  ; Naomi Julian  Stormy Skies Over Ranchos de Taos,  Jaye Whorton  A Tip of the Hat to Ms. O'Keeffe

Linda Giesen Wired--the Inside and Outside of Anxiety, Naomi Julian Enchanted Mesa, Vivian Skadron Sunset Over Albuquerque, Nancy Wohlenberg Rift Valley Center Place I and II; Blue Tree ; Naomi Julian Stormy Skies Over Ranchos de Taos, Jaye Whorton A Tip of the Hat to Ms. O'Keeffe

Linda Giesen  Wired--The Inside and Outside of Anxiety  photo credit: Nancy Wohlenberg

Linda Giesen Wired--The Inside and Outside of Anxiety photo credit: Nancy Wohlenberg

Alcove north wall:

Elizabeth Buckley  Portal,  Jaye Whorton  Wedge Weave I,  Mary Rawcliffe Colton  Bumps in the Road,  Jaye Whorton  Kaotic Klown ; pedestal: Ann Blankenship  Four Directions   Photo credit: Nancy Wohlenberg

Elizabeth Buckley Portal, Jaye Whorton Wedge Weave I, Mary Rawcliffe Colton Bumps in the Road, Jaye Whorton Kaotic Klown; pedestal: Ann Blankenship Four Directions

Photo credit: Nancy Wohlenberg

Mary Rawcliffe Colton's Bumps in the Road incorporates pulled warp with use of smaller and smaller wefts to reduce the weaving width from 5 to 1.5 inches.  In Ann Blankenship's Four Directions, the metal cube is the loom.

Alcove east wall:

pedestal: Ann Blankenship  Four Directions , Nancy Wohlenberg  Five Sisters Song Series: Hot Flow, New Earth, Soil;  Mary Rawcliffe Colton  Primroses , Nancy Wohlenberg  Substraction: Flow  and  Tangledoodle  , Dan Klinglesmith  Pathway   photo credit: Nancy Wohlenberg

pedestal: Ann Blankenship Four Directions, Nancy Wohlenberg Five Sisters Song Series: Hot Flow, New Earth, Soil; Mary Rawcliffe Colton Primroses, Nancy Wohlenberg Substraction: Flow and Tangledoodle , Dan Klinglesmith Pathway

photo credit: Nancy Wohlenberg

QuestioningLimitsShowPoster.jpg

If you cannot make it to the opening or closing receptions, the gallery is open on Wednesdays and Fridays 10:00 am - 6:00 pm.


Special thanks to Nancy Wohlenberg for use of her photos, as well as for her photo-editing skills on my images.  Photo credits:  Elizabeth Buckley, unless otherwise noted.

Reflections On... Contemporary International Tapestry Exhibition

Elizabeth Buckley with her tapestry, Dialogues Through the Veil.  Photo credit: Lisa Heilman Lomauro

Elizabeth Buckley with her tapestry, Dialogues Through the Veil.  Photo credit: Lisa Heilman Lomauro

Like so many artists, I work in isolation and solitude.  It is part of the contemplative nature of tapestry. Although my pieces regularly jury into national exhibitions, rarely do I  have the opportunity to see my own work in the context of other masters. But recently this happened for me at the Contemporary International Tapestry exhibition at the Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton, New Jersey.

The idea for this exhibit originated with individuals from the Hunterdon Art Museum  who then asked Carol K. Russell to select and curate “important work by major international artists, providing an unusual opportunity to see under one roof current trends in contemporary tapestry.” (Marjorie Frankel Nathanson, executive director of Hunterdon Art Museum). 

Hunterdon Art Museum   photo credit:  Elizabeth J. Buckley

Hunterdon Art Museum   photo credit:  Elizabeth J. Buckley

Carol K. Russell and Linda Wallace conversing in front of    Rebecca Bluestone’s  Landscape Series:    Triptych #2   .   Photo credit:  Lisa Heilman Lomauro

Carol K. Russell and Linda Wallace conversing in front of  Rebecca Bluestone’s Landscape Series:  Triptych #2 Photo credit:  Lisa Heilman Lomauro

Archie Brennan, Elizabeth Buckley discussing design process  with her tapestry  Dialogues Through the Veil.  Photo credit: Lisa Heilman Lomauro

Archie Brennan, Elizabeth Buckley discussing design process  with her tapestry Dialogues Through the Veil. Photo credit: Lisa Heilman Lomauro

Nancy Shiffer, of Shiffer Publishing, Ltd. agreed to publish the accompanying, hard-cover book.  The whole project became Carol Russell’s life for countless hours every day for over one year and six months as she gathered together works of forty artists (myself included) from nine countries. Both the exhibition and the book are exquisite.

I saw the show the day before it was open to the public, when everyone on the museum staff was hard at work on the final details, such as putting up artist statements and the exhibit signage, adjusting the lighting for each tapestry, compiling the information notebook on the artists, and attending to the reception arrangements.

 

I was so moved by how much care and attention to detail I saw, that at the end of the day, I thanked as many of the staff as I could for all of their hard work.  Later, Ingrid told me that in all the years she has worked on the lighting of the exhibits there, I was the first artist to thank her.  I was stunned and saddened at the same time. My response to her was “but the lighting is so crucial to the entire exhibit.”  Indeed, lighting, in addition to a well-hung show, is what makes the works sing. 

 

And sing they did. I spent the day with each tapestry in the exhibit, being present to the overall impact of each piece, as well as looking closely at technical details, marveling at the masterful synchronization of color, structure, line, image, and form.  I was in awe.  Not only is this an amazing collection of works, but my own tapestry voice has a place here.

Contemporary International Tapestry exhibition, which fills all three gallery spaces of the Hunterdon Art Museum, is up until May 10, 2015.  Go spend time with it.  Linger over each piece, drink it in, absorb its presence into your cells.  Leave with the book filled with full-color images of the artists and their works, their words, and those of Carol K. Russell:

Contemporary International Tapestry       courtesy of Shiffer Books

Contemporary International Tapestry      courtesy of Shiffer Books

The artists…are as different as the sounds of our voices and as similar as our passion for quiet hours at the loom.  There is no magic in a loom.  Its apparent humbleness and simplicity stand in stark contrast to the weaver’s hands and eyes directing a million marks of imagination.  A loom is simply a universally understood system for exploring oneself, which is an impossible thing to counterfeit.

 A final thought:  Never ask a tapestry artist, “How long did it take to weave this tapestry?”  He or she will respond quite correctly, ‘It took my entire life up to the point at which this tapestry was cut from the loom, and the same for the next tapestry and the ones after that!”