Lowell – Quilt National at the Textile Museum

Reviewed by Sandy Donabed
One of 4 reviews by Ms. Donabed of the Lowell Quilt Festival.

The first show was at the American Textile History Museum, a building now completely under construction as they sell off lofts in their upper floors. One exhibit was a traveling section of Quilt National 05, and I do have to note the impact entering the rooms because the walls had been painted vibrant colors to compliment the quilts. The colors simply bounced around the room, reflecting one quilt then another, making it hard to view each one in order because of the color dialogue through the rooms. The view around every corner was a treat.

Quilt National 1

Installation shot

The trends in QN seemed to be wide format digital printing and hand dyed and manipulated fabrics, so Susan Else’s multi-figured sculpture, “Bingo”, displayed in a glass case, was surprising. The figures were covered in traditional patchwork in miniature as were the picnic table where they sat with their snacks and game pieces. Various exaggerated poses on each figure enhanced the wit of the piece.

Quilt National 2

June Underwood (wall), Susan Else

Miriam Nathan Roberts’ “Untitled” was printed in large scale on crepe de chine from her own digital images. She then did metallic machine stitching to bring the images of mysterious round yellow wrapped objects forward, appearing as she saw them in a Japanese display. The formality of design harkens back to the the familiar grid format while the joyous saturated color was a standout even on a bright yellow wall.

Quilt National 3

Miriam Nathan-Roberts

Another piece of note was by Patricia Mink, “Wall Quilt #25”. Mink printed her photograph of a wall in Cordoba on linen, again as a whole cloth. She then did stitching on the wall to emphasize the crumbling texture and peeling paint age reveals. Without knowing it was a photograph of a wall, the quilt was seen as a successful abstract design.

American Textile History Museum, 491 Dutton St., Lowell, MA (978) 441-0400, http://www.athm.org The Quilt National 2005 collection will be there until Sept. 3. (call first to check open hours- they are on a reduced schedule)

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One Response to Lowell – Quilt National at the Textile Museum

  1. I loved the colored walls, they made the exhibit glow. Different aspects of quilts were suddenly visible. The first time I have seen intensly colored walls was in Munich, in the Lebachhaus, a museum with an extensive collection of paintings by Kandinsky and other Blue Riders. The paintings by Kandinsky, Münter, Jawlensky etc. almost leapt of the wall. It was a daring experiment and it worked, as it does in the Textile Museum. Sylvia

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