One last post about the QSDS-sponsored show at the Riffe Gallery in Columbus. Today's subject is 3-D quilt art.
Three-D is a funny thing. Most of the fabric we see in our daily lives is 3-D, and many of us who now make art out of fabric started our sewing careers with 3-D creations, aka clothing. Quilted fabric also lends itself to being shaped and formed in a way that painting, for example, doesn't. So it's natural that some artists try to add a third dimension to their quilts.
Yet for some reason I can't understand, we almost always fail. And perhaps it's because most of the fabric we see in our daily lives is 3-D. So when we see fabric art taking a dimensional form, we immediately think "clothing" or "home dec" or "stuffed toys." And that sort of immediate reaction makes it so much harder for the viewer to backtrack and say wait, wait, maybe it's art and not upholstery.
I firmly believe that it's possible to make 3-D quilted pieces that will come off as art; I even have an idea for something along those lines that I will make one of these days. But sad to say, I recall only one 3-D quilt that struck me as powerful rather than cutesy. That's a piece that I never even saw in person, only in the catalog of Quilt National '87: Krakow Kabuki Waltz, by Virginia Jacobs. It was a seven-foot sphere, intricately pieced, then stretched over a balloon armature. Perhaps because of its size, I doubt many people thought "toy" when they saw it.
I also liked the 3-D piece made by Naomi Adams in this year's Quilt National.
The QSDS show had several 3-D pieces. I liked the one by Diane Nunez in which the bottom panel could be flipped up and fit into the negative spaces of the top panel. The gridded areas stood out about two inches from the wall, and the shadows cast by the extensions became an important part of the composition.