|ROMAN STRIPES BY SHERRY A. BYRD|
Vibrant and Boldly Unique Quilts Expand the Notion of Craft in:
This September, the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) presents Yo-Yos & Half Squares: Contemporary California Quilts, an exhibition showcasing a dynamic and visually vibrant selection of American quilts made from the mid to late 1980s to the early 2000s by five women living in the Bay Area. —The exhibition coincides with a new installation from OMCA’s extensive craft collection in the Gallery of California ,featuring complex asymmetrical patterns, the selection of quilts on view in the exhibition includes unusual materials and an improvisational creation process that include both quilter and collector.
These quilts are drawn from the collection of Oakland resident Eli Leon, who traveled the country in a van on a Guggenheim Fellowship in the 1980s, collecting the stories of quilters and their quilts. Yo-Yos & Half Squares features 20 contemporary quilts that defy expectations and expand the notions of craft through their individual artistic expression. “We hope the exhibition alters viewers’ ideas of what a quilt can be,” says Carin Adams, Associate Curator of Art and Material Culture, whose most recent project was the highly successful SuperAwesome: Art and Giant Robot exhibition at OMCA last spring.
“Looking at these 20 quilts is like entering a different world—one that is asymmetrical and tactile.
Eli Leon’s collection is unique in the way that he was so deeply involved in the finished process,” Adams says. “His story is interwoven with those of the quilters.
The show will also feature one quilt Leon made in memory of his father.” And will present stories from each of the other quilt makers listed below:
Rosie Lee Tompkins
The exhibition illuminates how these quilts came to be, and the collaborations and relationships involved in their creation. Most of the quilters learned the craft early from their mothers and grandmothers, for whom quilting was a necessity or creative outlet.
The quilts are highly distinct from each other and reflect the makers’ individual interests, skills, and talents, as well as Eli Leon’s vision and unique story as a collector, beginning in the early 1970s and with a large focus on AfricanAmerican quilters.
These artworks feature a variety of materials from stiff 1970s polyester to velvet and glittery textiles the late Rosie Lee Tompkins (the quilt-making pseudonym of Effie Mae Howard) called “Christmas fabric,” these quilts each tell a unique story. Boldly unique in construction and design, the quilts are unique artworks in and of themselves.
Yo-Yos & Half Squares: Contemporary California Quilts is on view in the Oakland Museum of California’s Gallery of California Art September 12, 2015, through February 21, 2016.
The exhibition is made possible in part by generous support from the Simpson Family.
You are sincerely invited to set aside time to visit and explore this unique visual delicacy and delightful experience of " M-provisational "artistic creativity.
YOYOS AND HALF SQUARES EXHIBITION