Visions from Brazil
The cutting edge of fabric art
What: "Contemporaneo-Contemporary Quilts from Brazil"
Where: Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, La Conner
WHEN: Through Sun., Jan. 6
Cost: $5-$7 (free for children under 12)
Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Exploding stars in dazzling colors greet visitors to the current exhibit of Brazilian art quilts at La Conner’s Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum.
The fireworks in “2013” make a beautiful, dramatic statement—but why is there a black band across the top? Sadly, the piece memorializes the tragic Kiss nightclub fire in Santa Maria that killed 242 young people almost six years ago—including two granddaughters of the artist, Jane Leoneti.
It’s only one of the cutting-edge fabric art pieces showing through Sun., Jan. 6 as part of “Contemporaneo-Contemporary Quilts from Brazil.” For eight years, the Contemporary Art Quilters of Washington state have been displaying their work in the South American country. Now the Brazilians return the favor.
Another dazzling piece, “Ergos,” by Claudia Dias, vibrates with blue, green, red and orange, expressing the dynamic relationship of man with the universe.
Many aspects of nature are celebrated. Valeria Raybolt’s “Pedrias Parideiras” (literally, “stones giving birth”) is a monochrome, irregular-shaped stitchery representing a geologic oddity. “Exposicao” is a creepy tangle of fabric illustrating parasitic vines that strangle trees. Anderson Delfino’s “Enkarionta Protera” is a fascinating composition expressing his sensations when viewing biology through a microscope.
Both Brazilian and Washington artists have created work to deplore human disruption of nature. “Mortem” draws its inspiration from the “death” of wildlife and the local population along the Doce River in Minas Gerais state from spillage of toxic waste from a mine. “Agua” expresses concern for the importance of fresh water on the planet, while “Nada Vive” (“nothing lives”) expresses outrage for mankind taking fresh water that nature provides without even “giving thanks or returning the favor—as nothing lives without water.”
Local quilters on a similar wavelength include Barbara O’Steen. Her “Moving Toward Extinction!” is a disjointed triptych of lurid shapes transected by a giant black X, perhaps representing railroad tracks. A broken tree casts a pale shadow. Jagged lines in Bonnie Bucknam’s fabric “Bridge Controversy” predict collapse of the Portland-Vancouver I-5 highway bridge, where replacement has dangerously been prolonged.
The balance of the Northwest artworks are more calm. Helen Remick’s “Les Fleurs de la Maladie” commemorates painful arthritis in her fingers. Ruth Vincent (also of Seattle) remembers exotic travels with “Portals: Morocco I” depicting Moorish gateways on a background of warm blues and soft browns.
On the entry level in the museum you can enjoy the fine needlework and long-lasting, natural “Turkey red” dye of cotton American Star Quilts from the 19th century. “Presidential Wreath” was modeled after a banner in George Washington’s inaugural parade and dates from 1852.
In 1865, Roxy Terrill and Amanda Cheney made the vast “Mariner’s Compass” quilt for their grandson, Edward Terrill Nobles. He brought it when he moved from New York state to Bellingham and then Anacortes. The family lovingly kept it in mint condition until its donation to the museum.
Flower power with Ruthie V.
Does art need to be ugly or shocking to be taken seriously? So worries the highly talented Ruthie V., whose work has been called “erotic, challenging and frighteningly vulnerable.” But even though she loves flowers, until recently she hadn’t let herself paint them.
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