Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Quilt National 13 Opening Weekend

I was able to attend the opening weekend of Quilt National 13 in Athens, Ohio this past weekend. The jurors selected 85 pieces from 851 entries and truly, I believe they did an excellent job of creating a balanced show. There was a variety of figurative and abstract pieces, both large scale and smaller works, all strongly composed and beautifully executed. The gallery was open to the artists all weekend and I found myself wandering through the space in awe of the stunning works created by fellow artists.
The festivities began with an opening reception exclusively for collectors and the artists. We each received a copy of the catalog and many of the artists signed one another's books during those quiet hours before the gallery opened to the public. I was too busy enjoying myself to ask for autographs and had to spend the rest of the weekend catching up on getting signatures. It was fantastic to meet the artists in attendance, many of whom I have admired and followed online. I heard 69 of the 85 artists were there for the opening weekend, including artists from Australia, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

I'm glad that we had the time to wander around and see our work before the show opened to the public. I was so distracted in talking to everyone that I only got a handful of shots of the space before the crowds arrived.

Once the show opened at 5pm, it was difficult to photograph the art. But the energy and excitement was palpable.

The awards were announced on Friday night and there was a banquet following the reception. Sitting together, we had a chance to decompress, talk about the night and bond over such an amazing experience.

On Saturday morning, there was an Artist Walk and Talk. We were each given 2 minutes to discuss our work for those in attendance. It is so interesting to hear the story behind the art. Artists statements can only cover so much in such limited space. The Walk and Talk allowed the viewers to learn more about the artist's inspiration, process or just get a sense of the artist themselves. Our comments were recorded by the Dairy Barn. It will be interesting to see what becomes of those recordings. 

Other events for the weekend included, SAQA sponsored events (jurors panel, artist panel and talk by Kris Sazaki, incoming SAQA board president) and a breakfast sponsored by Friends of Fiber Art International.

The hardbound catalog was published by DragonThreads this year and will not be available on Amazon. You can purchase it directly from the publisher or through the Dairy Barn. I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy. 

While the catalog is beautifully done, the photos never really do the artwork justice. Being able to see the works up close, examine their every detail, was a thrilling experience. Here are a few detail shots:
detail from Round and Round by Paula Kovark
detail from Moonset by Brienne Brown
The crowds marveled over Paula Kovarik's Round and Round it Goes and Brienne Brown's Moonset. Their thread drawings were simply incredible. The patience, imagination and skill to create these pieces were evident and both pieces kept the viewers coming back time and time again to spend just one more minute exploring the details.
detail from Tracings III by Deidre Adams
Another piece rich in texture was Tracings III by Deidre Adams. I have long been a fan of her work and was especially thrilled to see it up close. There is so much to explore in her art and I enjoyed visiting and viewing it several times during the weekend.
detail from Plastic Trees #5, Olive Grove in Ampolla, Spain by Rita Merten
I was also drawn to the works utilizing recycled materials. Plastic Trees #5, Olive Grove in Ampolla, Spain by Rita Merten was constructed of new and recycled plastic bags. She fused the layers of plastic together with an iron and then quilted it like cloth. The result was a highly reflective surface that shimmered in the gallery.
detail from The City by Natalya Aikens
Natalya Aikens' piece, The City, was constructed of collaged recycled plastic, bubble wrap, dryer sheets and other materials. It created a wonderfully complex surface with a variety of textures to explore. 

If you are able to see the show in Athens this summer, I highly recommend it. The entire exhibit will travel to the St Louis University Museum of Art in late September 2013. After that, the show will tour in smaller groups throughout 2014. Don't miss it!

1 comment:

Natalya Khorover Aikens said...

Thanks for your kind words on my blog! I am also sorry we didn't get to meet.. I loved your piece too. Congratulations!
I see you're from Irvine, my best friend lives in Irvine, it's a great place. And I just discovered your blog and website, fascinating. Why have I not discovered it earlier as I see that this is not our first exhibit together.. I'll blame it on my children ;)