The Smith Gallery will host “Seeing the Weave: Textile-based Abstraction from the Piedmont,” a group show featuring diverse works — from painting, quilts, weavings and textile to sculpture and video — that use textile design, history and construction to engage with the legacies of artistic abstraction. The exhibition and related programs are free and open to the public.
In the last twenty years, there has been a global upsurge in contemporary art making based in textile materials, designs and histories. This exhibition provides a survey of some of the ways that North Carolina artists have contributed to expanding this field in new directions. It focuses on work from the Piedmont region, which is both a dense center of artistic production in the state and an area rich with craft and industrial textile history. The artists represented integrate textiles into a wide variety of forms and make frequent use of techniques associated with textile construction, including piecing, sewing, weaving and knotting their works together. They experiment boldly with color, pattern and the tactile qualities of fabric, and they interrogate both the cultural meanings associated with their materials and the legacy of textile-based abstraction, which has its roots in the early twentieth century.
While most of the artists featured in the exhibition hail from North Carolina, several come from further afield. For the making of her Tapetes series, featured artist Martha Clippinger works with Licha Gonzales Ruis and Agustin Contreras Lopez, master weavers who are based in Oaxaca, Mexico. The video work by Kayla Anderson (Chicago) and Jennifer Schmidt (Brooklyn), was created during residencies at Elsewhere Museum in Greensboro and are based on textiles from local mills. The inclusion of these artists speaks to global networks of exchange that these artists are a part of and the complex weave between fine, applied and industrial arts.
The exhibition was organized by Jennie Carlisle, curator and director of the Smith Gallery. Works were generously loaned by the artists and by Elsewhere Museum. Featured artists include Kayla Anderson, Maria Britton, Barbara Campbell Thomas, Martha Clippinger, XCHANG Textiles, Licha Gonzales Ruiz and Agustin Contreras Lopez, Joy Drury Cox, Julia Gartrell and Jennifer Schmidt.
Roundtable Discussion: Maria Britton + Joy Drury Cox
Sept. 20, 6-7:30 p.m. | Belk Library room 421
Maria Britton and Joy Drury Cox join art professor Jeana Klein for a discussion of their unique approaches to art production, and the role that textiles have played.
Meet and Greet Breakfast with Maria Britton and Joy Drury Cox
Sept. 21, 9:30-11a.m. | Smith Gallery
Drop-in session at the Smith Gallery to meet the artists of “Seeing the Weave” and to learn more about how they’ve built their art practices and careers.
Artist Talk by Barbara Campbell Thomas
Sept. 27, 6-7:30 p.m. | Turchin Center for the Visual Arts Lecture Hall
UNCG painting professor and 2018 NC Artist Council Fellow Barbara Campbell Thomas presents a lively artist talk that centers around her exuberant collage work and colorfully quilted paintings.
About the Smith Gallery
The Department of Art’s Smith Gallery is a vibrant contemporary art space, housed in Appalachian State University’s Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts. It presents original and travelling exhibitions, features work by faculty and students at the university, and commissions daring new art in all of its forms. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.