Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Form, Not Function Exhibit at the Carnegie Museum for Art & History

This is the 3rd year for this exhibit and it keeps getting better!!!  The curators did a wonderful job of hanging the show that allows for viewers to move through gently with smooth transitions of colour from piece to piece. For me that means I linger longer in front of each piece.  I made my 2nd visit yesterday and was there 2 hours each visit viewing the 50 quilts that make up the show. 

The most experimental piece was Homeless by Judy Zoelzer Levine.  The quilt was mounted on a metal grid and incorporated barb wire across the surface with the most recognizable shape from a distance being a female figure.  Closer up the images of fire and military force reinforce the message of this quilt and I became teary eyed while thinking of women I've known who have fled violence both from war, poverty, and intimate violence. 

My personal favorite (and I had many but this stood out for me) was Danny's Turtles by Diane Bielak.  I loved the colours, the ribbons floating above the surface, the embellishments.

Since photos weren't allowed I've searched online to provide images of some of the quilts that spoke to me in the exhibit:  Crumblling Walls 4 by Cathy Shanahan ; Grid by Tricia McKellar ; Drawing the Line Somewhere by Deidre C. Adams (2nd thumbnail at the top of the page) ; Opening #5 by Marina Kamenskaya .  The best of show went to Cascading Boxes by Lesley Riley.

Kudos to 3 of the bloggers in the AQ ring who are in this exhibit: Tommy Fitzsimmons' Pickets #13 selected as the Juror's Choice Award and Lisa Call's Structures #45 was selected for Award of Merit and Cathy Kleeman's Sun Days.  I'm throwing rose petals your way. :)

One quilt that I wish I could have found online to share here is another one that had me in awe for its beauty was Moon Set by Bob Adams.  It was a whole cloth lunar image that had intense rich jewel tones. 

I noticed that most of the quilts did not have the dense quilting lines that I recall from the past 2 years and it seemed like a lot of the quilts in this exhibit emphasized linear/grid/square/rectangular patterns versus circular/curvaceous lines and shapes.  I really don't know what that means but it was something I noticed. 

While I was there yesterday I noticed a steady stream of visitors there to see the show just as it was last week when I went.  I hope in future exhibits there will be catalogs.  This show definitely deserves one!

One week after this exhibit ends in March, a solo show of quilts will go up entitled: Threads of Strength and Fortitude: Penny Sisto's Slavery Series.  She captures haunting images of women and children in her quilts like none other! Its like she has captured the actual ghost (Elle you would probably love them) in the quilt...not the image of ghost, but the actual ghost itself.  I do love her work but don't know if I would want one hanging in my house.  Its like the eyes in the painting that follow you around the room...but with her art, I always get a sense of having a presence just over my shoulder, softly, gently lingering and wanting something.  A link to her website is in my side bar under Quilt Artists.


  1. Karoda,
    Thanks for your in-depth coverage of the show. They should have allowed you to photograph, but thanks for the links. Diane Bielak's quilts are particularly gorgeous...I'm such a sucker for sun-printed leaves, she does a great job of incorporating them into her quilts. Lisa Call and Kathy Kleeman make stunning quilts. Was that show right in Louisville?

  2. It is right across the Ohio River in a small town, New Albany, Indiana about 15 minutes from home.

  3. K - thanks for this review and all of the links. I skimmed through them all quickly as I read, but now I'm going back and taking my time; for two reason--they deserve more than a hurried look and at the end of your post you mention some differences in quilting and design choices.
    Thanks for the time and effort that went into finding and posting all the links!

  4. Thanks so much for the virtual tour. How I wish I could have seen the show this year! Your links and review are great and there is so much for me to see & learn from this distance. Thanks again.

  5. Thanks for the kudos and rose petals Karoda!!!!
    And thank you much for the great description of the show.

  6. Thanks for sharing these lovely quilts with us. I've fallen in love with Leslie Riley, among others. Katharine Kleeman speaks to me also.

  7. Great work. Wish I could see this show or better yet - be in this show!! Heh heh!
    Love Diane's work and the depth and transparency that she achieved.

  8. nice, cozy place you got here :)..

  9. Judy Levine is in my art quilt group. I'll have to tell her you blogged about her piece. She'll be flattered and probably ask me what a blog is. HA.
    You are much better than I am, K. I wouldn't have looked up virtual references for the artists. If I can't take the picture, I probably won't blog about it.

  10. I was wondering if you've seen this year's (2008) Form Not Function show. I'd love to hear your impressions of it!