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Exhibition of studio quilts with vibrant abstract and geometric designs opens in Ithaca
Nancy Crow (American, b. 1943), Double Mexican Wedding Rings IV, 1989–90. Cottons; machine sewn, hand-quilted by Marie Moore. Collection of John M. Walsh III, Class of 1958.

ITHACA, NY.- The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University presents Bold by Design: Art Quilts from the Collection of Jack Walsh, on view from July 5 to August 17, 2014.

The vibrant art quilts in Bold by Design are from the collection of John M. Walsh III, Cornell Class of 1958. Jack’s collection is widely known for its quality and range, composed of quilts created by many of the best artists in the field. The abstract quilts on view are a small subset of Jack’s collection, chosen for their bold design and inventive use of color. The Johnson Museum is grateful to Jack for lending these stellar quilts to the exhibition.

On Saturday, July 12 at 3:00 p.m., Jack Walsh will discuss his collection and the medium of art quilts. This talk is free and open to the public.

“Most of the artists whose work is featured in this exhibition have formal art training,” said Cathy Rosa Klimaszewski, associate director and Harriett Ames Charitable Trust Curator of Education at the Johnson Museum. “They chose this medium because they are drawn to the creative possibilities and tactile qualities of fabric.”

In the 1960s a new type of quilt began to emerge. Artists used fabric, thread, and often unconventional materials to treat quilt surfaces much like a painter does a canvas. Made as art to be hung on the wall and engage the viewer in a visual experience, these quilts were unapologetically nonutilitarian. Over the past thirty years, solo and group exhibitions of art quilts have proliferated.

Nancy Crow, Michael James, Pamela Studstill, and Anna Williams have reimagined the geometric pieced quilt in unique and compelling ways. Katherine Knauf, Heidi Stoll-Weber, and Ardyth Davis dye or print their own fabrics, and Studstill paints directly on the quilt. Joy Saville, Carol Gersen Hemphill, and Carol Schepps create dynamic optical effects.

Complementing the exhibition are gallery displays of midcentury prints and paintings from the Johnson Museum’s collection that share a visual kinship with the art quilts, and a selection of nineteenth- and twentieth-century American quilts from the Museum’s collection. 

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