Directions: from historical sources

Date: Sep 29 - Nov 26, 1989
Artist: Dorothy Caldwell, Lyn Carter, Kai Chan, Lee Dickson, Susan Warner Keene, Sarah Quinton
Curated by: Lynne Milgram

With the 1989 opening of the Contemporary Gallery of the new Museum for Textiles, a gateway for contemporary fibre art has been thrown open. Located amid the galleries of traditional ethnographic textiles that form the core of the Museum’s collection, the Contemporary Gallery provides a long-awaited opportunity to exhibit, document and discuss contemporary fibre art in its broadest range. Until now there has been no gallery devoted to presenting regular exhibitions of contemporary visual art in textile and fibre media. It is therefore significant that the Museum for Textiles has designated 1,200 square feet of exhibition space, office quarters and preparation area for the presentation of contemporary exhibitions organized by guest curators.

All textile traditions are embraced by the gallery in its exhibition program: weaving, dyeing, surface patterning, basketry, embroidery, appliqué, beadwork, felt making and mixed media. The work shown may express functional, decorative, or purely conceptual aesthetics. Because the Contemporary Gallery is without commercial affiliation, it is able to present new and challenging works.



Directions: from historical sources is such a show. Featuring work by Dorothy Caldwell, Lyn Carter, Kai Chan, Lee Dickson, Susan Warner Keene and Sarah Quinton, this exhibition establishes a high standard of excellence and sets the tone for future exhibitions. Each artist is well established in the field and has been selected for this premiere exhibit because his or her work articulates a connection between traditional textiles and the concerns of artists working in contemporary fibre media. This connection may take the form of a link with one or more of the technology, the content, the imagery, or the spirit of historical fabrics.

The commitment of these artists to experiment with the manipulation of mixed-media materials in a fabric-like manner has resulted in the creation of work that tests the boundaries of the medium. Their various expressions of personal and provocative content and symbolism reflect the pluralism of attitudes prevalent in the area of fibre art today. From the rich history of textile forms and strategies, the artists have devised singular working methods for investigating ideas about human interaction with the environment. By using familiar materials and processes, but deploying them in unexpected ways, these artists contribute to a visual dialogue that fluently addresses issues prominent in craft and art today.


Directions: from historical sources, By Helen Duffy, 1989