The Bristol Art Museum is pleased to announce the opening of its latest exhibition, Tensions: New Directions in Fiber Art. This captivating exhibit showcases the works of 36 innovative and talented Rhode Island-based contemporary fiber artists, exploring new frontiers in the realm of fiber art.
The exhibit opens on Sun. Jul. 23 and will be on view until Sat., Sept. 9. An opening reception will be held on Mon., Aug. 7, from 5 to 7 p.m., providing an opportunity for visitors to meet the artists and gain deeper insights into their artistic process.
Curated by renowned local art expert, Allison Wilbur, Tensions brings together an impressive collection of artists who are pushing the boundaries of their medium. Embracing the diverse possibilities of fiber art, the exhibition features a captivating array of textiles, sculptural installations, mixed media compositions, and immersive experiences that challenge traditional notions of what constitutes fiber art.
“Fiber Arts have long been woven into our history and culture as an integral part of daily life,” shared Guest Curator Allison Wilbur. “From utilitarian pieces such as clothing and bedding to decorative arts, women, in particular, have expressed themselves through fiber. Today's contemporary fiber artists take time-honored techniques and traditions and elevate and reshape them to create new forms that reflect our ever-changing world.”
Speaking to the rich textile history in Rhode Island, local artists have created works based in the textile traditions of weaving, quilting, crochet, basketry, rug hooking and garment making. Moving away from the utilitarian, this new fiber art speaks to critical issues like the environment, the status of women, and self-realization.
In addition to the featured fiber artists displayed in the exhibit, the local art quilt group, Rhode Island Threads, will display a collection of quilts created in the style of Japanese scrolls. Art quilters use several techniques including fabric dyeing and painting, hand and machine stitching, embroidery and embellishment with found materials to create wall hangings similar to paintings but with the texture and feel of quilts.
The artwork displayed in Tensions is paired with historic artifacts, including weaving tools, an antique quilt, photographs and memorabilia. These artifacts evoke the roots from which this new artwork has sprung; the hands of the past that passed these cherished techniques down through the generations.
Stitching global textiles, color combinations, and design elements together with traditional American piecing, Wilbur creates art quilts that celebrate the international language of fiber shared by women around the world. She is an internationally recognized curator of fiber art exhibits, with an eye to raising awareness of global women’s issues.
Wilbur’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including the United Nations Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, the United Nations Visitor Center in New York, the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, the Human Rights Gallery at Kean University in Union New Jersey, the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts, and in major national quilt festivals and art galleries.
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