More than a year ago, Sandra Poteet and Lin Schiffner reached out to several highly accomplished, diverse and passionate fiber artists in a grassroots, artist-initiated effort to form a Coalition of Artists with Purpose. I was one of those artists. They invited each of us to create artwork on the theme Things That Matter.
We were charged to create artwork at least 6o inches wide, either one large single piece or multiple smaller pieces, focused on one single concept, just one 'Thing'. It could be anything the artist felt strongly about - family, justice, clean air, fairness, democracy, honesty, re-cycling, faith, climate change, equality, respect, literacy, peace, humor, education, etc. We were to create a visceral reminder, at this moment in our shared history when the world feels uncertain and divided, of things that truly matter.
Thirty one artists came together, committed to the project and retreated to their studios to ponder and reflect, to craft and hone their concepts into their creations. While finishing up other projects, I contemplated what I would make, letting ideas come and go. I struggled to find that one Thing that resonated with me the most and still fit within my body of work. As the months (yes, months!) passed, I found myself becoming overwhelmed and depressed by the constant barrage of the media. All media. Social. Mass. Fake. Whatever. I just wanted it to stop. I couldn't breathe. And, then I knew what I would make. I knew what my Thing was. Peace and Quiet.
Above is a detail of Horizon XII - Peace and Quiet and you can see the full image in my silk gallery. We were also asked to write a statement about our Thing. Here's mine:
"In this age of mass media and social media we live in a culture of information overload, with a growing dependency on our personal devices - non-stop texting, tweeting and selfies, liking, sharing and emojis. The media’s constant barrage of and obsession over the latest tragedy, scandal, ‘fake news’ bombshell and the increasingly hostile political climate are so overwhelming and depressing. More and more, for my own well-being and peace of mind, I just need to completely UNPLUG…
To turn off the television, put down the phone, walk away from the computer.
To silence the media madness.
To escape to the wilderness, to the water, to the vast horizon.
To listen to the gaping silence.
To breathe in the fleeting precious splendor of the dying day.
To feel lost yet found in the solitude of peace and quiet.
To just be."
Sandra and Lin, as well creating artwork of their own, tackled the daunting job of approaching art museums and securing venues for the exhibition. They have secured two definite venues so far and more are in the works. Next month, on April 21st will be the opening of a preview exhibit at the Vision Art Museum in San Diego, CA. It is a partial exhibit as the museum was not able to accommodate the entire show. Mine is one of the fortunate pieces to be included in this exhibit. I'm so pleased, I am. And, then later this year in November, the Chandler Center for the Arts in Chandler, AZ will present the show in its entirety.
Sandra and Lin have also been working on producing a catalog and that will hopefully be ready for the Visions exhibit. I won't be able to travel to San Diego to see the show so I am most eager to see the catalog.
I want to thank Lin and Sandy for all your hard work in mounting this very ambitious and important exhibition. I'm sure I speak for all the artists when I say how grateful we are for entrusting us with your vision and for empowering our voices.
Finally, I share with you the Exhibition Statement used to promote the show:
Fabric and other familiar fibers, found items and cast-offs have great power when melded by the artistic hand precisely because of their everyday-ness. We are startled by how something so common can be transformed into something so new and unexpected. We are compelled to touch the artist’s textiles to reassure ourselves that they are indeed something we know. It is wondrous, but at the same time reassuring. The medium itself is relatable. When paired with purpose it is inherently understood.
Grown out of ordinary artist-citizens demonstrating mastery of their medium, this exhibition is a timely and powerful response to this moment in history. Fiber artists are using their collective talents to say THIS thing, this idea, this place, this part of humanity is important and should not be forgotten or undefended when at risk to intolerance, ignorance, indifference, or greed."