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Bellevue Arts Museum displays Ann Johnston's Sierra Nevada inspired quilts
Ann Johnston, The Contact: 07.25.2012;19.55, 2015; 59 x 57 in. Photo: Bill Bachhuber.

BELLEVUE, WA.- Over the last six years, artist Ann Johnston has created a striking series of large-scale quilts inspired by California’s Sierra Nevada range. 32 of these quilts—made from cloth that the artist has dyed herself—are being displayed in the Bellevue Arts Museum exhibition The Contact: Quilts of the Sierra Nevada by Ann Johnston. Each quilt is created using an array of construction techniques, some remain as a whole cloth, others are pieced or appliquéd. Johnston’s broad selection of quilting techniques and creative use of abstract imagery are on full display in the exhibition. Her work has been included in several publications and has been featured in numerous national and international exhibitions, including BAM Biennial 2012: High Fiber Diet.

Johnston’s family has held a claim near Tioga Pass since the 1800s, which has formed a strong connection between the artist and the Sierra Nevada as a place of power, beauty, and fascination. The quilts of The Contact make use of patterns and textures to create literal, abstract, and sometimes completely imaginative representations of the area. This collection of work presents subjects that visitors of the Sierra Nevada might recognize, including mountain peaks, lakes, and rock formations. “Contact” is used in the title to reference the meeting point of geologic units as well as the meeting of humans with their landscape—an observable theme in the quilts.

Johnston has a degree in Literature from Stanford University, and a Masters in Geography from the University of Oregon. She taught for the Peace Corps in Lima, Peru before raising two sons in Oregon with her husband. She has enjoyed quilting since 1975, beginning with traditional patterns and progressing to fabric dying and the large variety of quilts she creates today.

A full-color catalogue, The Contact, accompanies the exhibition and will be available in the Museum Store.

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