Everywhere I turn, I’m seeing beauty in the world. Yes, the snow, and also the handwork of so many startlingly talented people from today and history.
The Guilford Arts Center has a crisp show of Connecticut-made contemporary quilts, “Local Color: Connecticut Stories.”
I was impressed by the landscape and genre character of many of the quilts.
And the number of artists using the photographer as part of the image.
Talk about mixed media!
With quilts, part of the pleasure is the texture. I like this work that mixes different kinds of needlework.
Once she got past what the art world was doing and found her own voice, in alignment with 1970s feminism, Schapiro’s work is simply breathtaking in its decorative design and message power.
Here, she shows us a traditional female object–the fan–and creates a form of high art from what male critics deemed low-art. Together, with Judy Chicago, Schapiro reshaped the dialogue about what art was and how to bring the woman artist out of anonymity.
On the wall label, she is quoted from 1977, “I wanted to validate the traditional activiites of women, to connect myself to the unknown women artists who had made quilts, who had done the invisible ‘women’s work’ of civilization.”
Schapiro coined a term femmage to describe this art form that is created by a woman, has women-centric themes, and uses mixed media, patterns, and narrative. The definition is even more detailed that I just relayed and is a bit prescriptive for me. I don’t know that the term has taken off, but this outstanding show demonstrates how important she was for opening doors to today’s artists, including the quilters at the Guilford Arts Center.
I love this piece, which my friend Helen describes as a transition from her early work of hard-edge abstraction to her own voice of femmage.
Her eyes move with the tick-tock of the seconds, the leopards leap up and down, the wheels of the chariot move, the monkey raises and lowers that hand with the ball, and yes, Diana shoots the arrow!
The “Luxury of Time” exhibit is full of such beauty and grace and magic. Fun, too, when the clocks go off on the quarter hour.
I was enchanted by this Rococo clock, with it’s ‘hand-kiss’ group and elegant flowers. Charmant!
How’s this for a souvenir?
If you went on the Grand Tour, and didn’t want to schlep a lot of art around, you could pick up this pocket watch, with its view of St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican etched in. Pretty nifty.
I would like one of these though, even better.
What I was actually headed toward is the special exhibition of Artistic Furniture of the Gilded Age. Oh my goodness!
Dazzling. Ah, what a little money will do. Here are some of my favorites.
Imagine the mother-of-pearl inlay in the star pattern shimmering in candlelight.
Who’s sitting in this chair? Well, everyone who comes to visit (and hopefully has a small bum). It’s one of a set.
As with many of the objects I was attracted to, this dense inlay in the floral pattern recalls the then-fashionable Near Eastern patterns. I talked with a woodworker who was mesmerized by the piece. They just don’t make ’em like this any more…
Women weren’t the only anonymous artists. This bed was likely carved by an expert immigrant who brought his skills to the U.S.
Those anonymous artists are lost to us today, but fortunately, we can still melt into the magnificence of what they left behind.