Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Form, Not Function 2 -- abstract

The Form, Not Function show at the Carnegie Center for Art and History in New Albany IN is more than halfway through its run and I have finally managed to see and photograph it at leisure.  I wrote last month about the winner of the social and political commentary award, but now let me mention some of the other pieces that I particularly liked.

I think the quilt medium is particularly conducive to abstract and geometric design, especially in pieced quilts, and this year's FNF seemed to have plenty of excellent examples.

Bonnie Bucknam, Tangle, detail below

Bonnie's huge quilt continues in her long series of designs that reference nature forms -- this one brings to mind a tangle of roots.  It took best in show at FNF, a decision I strongly agree with.  I've sat next to Bonnie for weeks of workshops and watched her compose her quilts on the wall quite improvisationally, then magically make all the complicated shapes fit together and lie flat.  Even after much scrutiny of her methods I am in awe that she pulls it off.  Also note the exquisite quilting. I would be happy to have this quilt come home and live with me.

Heather Pregger, Tuning Fork #6

Here's another award-winner, this one that I helped choose, given by River City Fiber Artists, my longtime small quilt support group.  It's a classic example of using a recurring motif in different sizes and values, an exercise that you might encounter in a workshop but substantial enough to  work with for a long time (as I infer Heather has done, since this is already number six).  Note how the use of neutrals adds so much interest and sophistication to the monochrome color scheme.

Karen Schulz, Stonehenge-ish, detail below

I liked the strong, clean geometric shapes and complex, interesting quilting.  Don't you love the little red piece in the corner?  If this is sorta Stonehenge, maybe the red is sorta the sun at solstice.

Gail Baar, Structure 23  

A similar character -- mysterious shapes huddled on a white background -- is found in this piece by Gail Baar, an artist whose work I have seen in person several times and admired for a several years.  But unlike Karen's white background, which was framed in yellow and olive, Gail's white background had the misfortune of being hung on a white wall and it was hard to tell where the quilt stopped and the wall started.  I think that hung on a colored or gray wall this quilt would sing a lot louder than it did here.

Pat Bishop, Two of a Kind

Finally, I liked this quirky smallish piece, not just for its strong design but for its wide variety of fabrics.  Different materials (silk, velveteen, damask, cotton), some commercial prints, some hand-dyed and painted, some recycled.  The different shades of black in the background are particularly effective.

1 comment:

  1. A carload of artist friends and I visited the Carnegie last week and were very impressed with the exhibit. It's such a fabulous venue to showcase great art with its high ceilings and columns.