Monday, February 13, 2012

Quilter in transition

I recently had the pleasure of attending the opening reception and gallery talk for a new show of work by Terry Jarrard-Dimond, at the Arts Center in Greenwood SC.  The seven quilts on display show her transition from one striking, highly individualistic style to another; it's neat to be able to trace this evolution in style.

Her "old style" quilts are distinguished by precision piecing of her hand-dyed fabrics.  They depict shapes that Terry has always described as "entities" in some kind of relationships that we can only guess at.  The quilts are somewhere between large and very large.

Barn Dance: Spring Swing, 2008

I've seen this quilt in the past and have always been intrigued by the stark white panel at the left, balancing and giving gravitas to the saturated colors and strong shapes in the rest of the composition.

Plus Blue, 2009

The star of the show, visible before you even walk in the front door of the gallery, is Plus Blue, the largest piece on display.  Terry made this at the same time she was working on three quilts for the Color Improvisations exhibit, now touring in Europe, and I would describe these four pieces as the culmination of her "old style" of pieced quilts.  Like those three pieces, this one is huge, bright and commanding with its strong shapes and repeating motifs.  My photo doesn't do justice to the brilliant hand-dyed fabrics.

After this tremendously productive year, Terry decided it was time for a change and started experimenting with more assertive surface design.  She had always dyed her own fabrics, but in solid-ish colors with only a bit of mottling.  Now she started applying the dye or more deliberately, with paintbrushes or monoprints, and also used discharge.

She said in her gallery talk that in her older quilts, color came first.  By contrast, in her newer work, "the color is rich, the color is beautiful, but the color is secondary to texture and composition."

Nude in the Dark, 2010

Richter Inspirations 1, 2010

There's a lot going on in this small piece, reminiscent of the work of German painter Gerhard Richter.  Some pieces have been appliqued with zigzag stitch.  The panel on the left has particularly heavy threadwork in different colors.

Richter Inspirations, detail

Here's her most recent piece:

Personal Space, 2012

Interestingly, the bold, mysterious shapes from Terry's older quilts have returned in this piece, appliqued over the top of the painted and printed stripes.

Long-time readers of Terry's blog saw a lot of her surface design experiments as she started to break away from her old style.  Now the fabrics, executed in much larger scale, have started to appear in her quilts. 

I wish we could have seen more of these new pieces in the show, but Terry had to share the space with the equally striking work of two other artists, Tom Dimond and Syd Cross.  The show continues through February 25.


  1. Love Terry's work before and now. Nicely written post about her work and the current show in S.C. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Nice review of Terry's very striking work.

  3. Thanks for sharing this retrospective of Terry's work. I'm familiar with all the pieces you showed here, but it's cool to see them side by side and makes for some good introspective thinking about evolving as an artist.