Barbara Todd: an installation of quilts and drawings

Date: Feb 7 - Jun 28, 1998
Artist: Barbara Todd

In a new work made during a week-long residency at the Textile Museum, Barbara Todd borrows several quilts from the collection to create a site-specific installation that articulates her connections to this material history. Five of Todd's woolen quilted works are accompanied by floor-to-ceiling brush-line drawings, which are based on drawings by young children as well as text excerpted from poetry by Muriel Rukeyser, Paul Celan, Nelly Sachs and Dahlia Ravikovitch. These poetic sources underline Todd's interest in the passage between wakefulness and sleep, conscious and unconscious. As Rukeyser's writes in her poem Darkness Music:

“The days grow and the stars cross over
And my wild bed turns slowly among the stars.”


This body of work is both allusive and tender, opening up a dreamlike space where meanings are uncertain; where, as in the quilt Adam's Boat (1995), a boat is a bed is a hole is a moon is a ditch, a cradle and a grave.

“In 1993 a visit to my studio by students of Banff Elementary School's Grade 2s awakened me to the potential connection between the surprise and depth of feeling in the drawings of young children and my own artistic practice. This work began there. I am grateful to the children not only for the drawings they left me (some of the shapes in “Night Sky” are based on their work), but more generally for suggesting yet another way to reconcile the identities of artist, feminist and mother.”

- Barbara Todd