When I read that comment, I thought of something else I read earlier this week. There's a new "blogzine" called Generation Q Magazine, aimed at "those who love the modern and contemporary vibe in quilting, sewing and crafting." In the second paragraph of the opening manifesto, the editors announce, "we just knew there was more going on than bold, graphic quilts with a lot of solids and wonky cuts." Hmmm. I hadn't realized that bold, graphic quilts with a lot of solids are passe. Guess I'll have to keep reading Generation Q to keep up to date.
So why did the first comment bring to mind the second? I guess it's because in the minds of a lot of people, apparently, wonky piecing with solid colors and abstract design has become a precious little room of its own, with the name of Nancy Crow firmly inscribed on a plaque over the door. Some people attach a second plaque, inscribed Gee's Bend, right next to it.
In these minds, anybody who uses solid colors and cuts without a ruler is lumped together as doing the same thing. I wonder if there's another school of quilt art, one where people use rulers and printed fabrics, and everybody who works that way is considered derivative of one another?
Back to Mary Ann's comment: I agree that the content is the message. It's hard to discern content from abstract work, but you can get clues from the character of the composition and from the title and artist statement. I think you can come up with radically different looks and content using "freeform piecing a la Nancy Crow."
As evidence, I submit work from several artists who have studied with Nancy, and suggest that we're not all doing the same thing, nor are we doing work derivative of Nancy's. I've also included a little about the content, as revealed in various artist statements. See what you think. Have we escaped from the little room and become our own people?
-- it's about geology and the landscape
Fence, in Quilt National '11 -- " I layer the complex relationships of form and color to create a dense image"
Exhibit C: Uta Lenk, Linienspiel X, in Color Improvisations traveling exhibit -- her quilts are inspired by drawings by her 2-year-old son
Improvisations traveling exhibit -- she sees the large shapes as entities with personalities, and calls her compositions "interior landscapes" based on life experiences
Lines 4, in Quilt National '11 -- it's about "our society and our environment under extreme tension, starting to come apart, and the fragility of the bonds that hold things in place"