A mixed media installation in response to the Quilts of Gee’s Bend.
Biggin Gallery, Auburn University
October 17 through November 11, 2005
Information: Please contact Assistant Professor of Art, Barbara Bondy at:
In a world characterized by the internet, television, electronic billboards and other forms of technological innovation, it is safe to assume that objects made by hand receive a subordinate level of attention. Ironically, however, the twenty first century’s high tech touch simultaneously awakens movement in the opposite direction, towards a pathway of growing interest in traditional age-old techniques. The processes of needle felting and sewing by hand fuel the mixed media installation, Momentary Traceries. Thread, recycled papers, felt, fleece and colored pencil combine to create a series of floating lines and shapes that cast fluctuating shadows and shifting reflections of color. Using the concurrently held, Quilts of Gee’s Bend displayed at Auburn University’s Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art as inspiration, various similarities are drawn specifically to: the use of recycled materials, reference to the act of sewing, and enticement of unpredictable, delicate details that draw intimate connections to daily life.
Momentary Traceries coupled with the Quilts of Gee’s Bend present a series of slightly irregular shapes; syncopated with off-balance inconsistencies that when viewed up close, spotlight a human source. The “fingerprints” of the creators are essentially a series of humble, handmade marks that fail to follow the lead of a predetermined pattern and instead choose to move about in their own unique directions. Pathways of lines and patterns intersect and reveal connections to familiar moments or places in time impacted by surrounding environments. Little discoveries such as the detection of elaborate business envelope patterns, hand-written sales receipts, shiny gum wrappers and perforated coupons in Momentary Traceries as well as denim and corduroy physically imprinted by the body in the Quilts of Gee’s Bend secretly delight the viewer. Although it is difficult to link the text, patterns or cloth to any specific owner, the human presence is evident. The information age’s ability to create “portraits” of people out of codes, symbols and other linked information is perceived in Momentary Traceries, and the quilter’s innate need to create commemorative cloths made from loved ones’ clothing in the Quilts of Gee’s Bend is both real and understandable. It is interesting to note that throw-a-way materials often classified as useless, expired or no longer urgent are pieced together and scrutinized in order to uncover unique nuances, combinations and associations to daily life; while at the same time, question modern society’s incessant need to squander before salvaging.