Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Quilt National 8 -- déjà vu

I haven't been to a lot of quilt shows recently, but several things at Quilt National seemed awfully familiar, despite the show's infamous virginity requirement that disqualifies almost any piece that has been shown on the internet or in the flesh.  In the three prominent shows that I've attended in the last year -- two years' worth of Form, Not Function at the Carnegie in New Albany IN and one year of Quilts=Art=Quilts at the Schweinfurth in Auburb NY -- I had seen not these exact quilts, of course, but their fraternal twins.  So I'll show you both versions!

I'll start with Kit Vincent; when I was a juror/judge at Q=A=Q last year I gave her quilt best in show -- so it was fun to meet its twin sister!

Kit Vincent, Chaos: the butterfly effect  (best in show, Quilts=Art=Quilts 2014)

Kit Vincent, Chaos 3 (Domini McCarthy Award, Quilt National '15) (detail below)

I have to apologize again for the photo -- the new lighting at the Dairy Barn, in which a single spotlight is focused on the center of each quilt, leaving the edges in shadow, is really awful for seeing the quilts, let alone taking decent pictures.  Imagine Kit's QN piece with the value distribution of the Q=A=Q piece and you'll have a better idea.  Or even better, pop for a QN catalog.

Next, a very different set of twins.

Deidre Adams, the proper means of investigating truth (Award of Excellence, Form, Not Function 2014)

Deidre Adams, disruption (QN '15) (detail below)

Both pieces are complicated constructions made from layers and layers of fabric and paper, machine stitched and cut away.

Kathleen Probst, Dipped Dimension (juror's choice, Q=A=Q 2014)

Kathleen Probst, Blue Veil (Cathy Rasmussen Emerging Artist Memorial Award, QN '15)

And here's the older brother of this set of twins:

Kathleen Probst, Alinea #10 (Form, Not Function 2015)

At first glance, it doesn't seem related, but then you notice the "H" shape of opposing ovals and realize that she's using the same motif, just pared down a lot.

If I had to find a moral in this story, it is that serious artists work in series, sometimes even making pieces that seem barely different from those that went before.  But it's through this kind of rigorous exploration of a theme or process that the work gets better.

Also that it's fun to go to the better quilt shows, notice the artists who keep making good work and start to follow their growth.


  1. Love your ultra close ups. Since I could not attend, I had never seen the real details.

  2. Oh, I am so glad you did this. Such excellent examples of what sticking with a series can do for an artist's growth, and how a simple idea can just get better and better. Also helps one to understand better why some of these artists continue to have their work accepted to Quilt National. They are not flashes in the pan and equally not resting on their laurels.