Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tea and Textility: A Summit Adventure

Cup(s) of the Day #104
By Gwyneth Leech
Mixed media on upcycled paper coffee cups

As the month of May draws to a close and the temperature starts to climb, it is time for a parting thought of cool Spring. What a remarkably long flowery season it was this year, turbo charged by some unseasonably hot days in March that set everything off at once, then drawn out by weeks of colder weather!

On one chill Saturday of drizzle and daffodils, I persuaded my husband and 8 year old daughter to go with me to Summit New Jersey to catch the exhibition Textility before it closed at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey. The exhibition statement read: "while there is a strong emphasis on materiality in contemporary art, we have seen an increasing number of artists who share a specific interest in textile-related materials and processes. We coined the word “textility” to describe these qualities and organized this exhibition to explore art that has a material or conceptual relationship to textiles." This sounded like one the Full Brew should not miss!

Not to mention that an afternoon train adventure is always pleasant, made even more so that day by flowering trees and the blaze of azaleas in Suburban gardens.

Jennifer Cecere, Mother 2011
Ripstop nylon

The art center is just a few blocks from the train station, but oh no! my daughter spied the playground across the street from the station as soon as we stepped outside. My husband and I looked at each other. I went on alone.

At the gallery, I was instantly taken with several highly ornamental artworks in the show - two "doilies", one by Jennifer Cecere, and one by Susan Starr, whose scale and unusual materials made a terrific impression, as did a gorgeous wall of fabric-themed paintings by Barbara Ellmann. In addition, an installation by Derek Melander - three totemic towers of gradated color formed from neatly folded second-hand clothing - was a show stopper.

Susan Starr, Dresser Doily, 2005
Hand-cut Mahogany wood veneer

Derek Melander, The Painful Spectacle of Finding Oneself, 2010
Second-hand clothing, wood and steel
Barbara Ellmann, Wherewithall, 2011, 
Encaustic on 12 wood panels

I wandered around  the galleries quite happily, finding many surprising and engaging artworks in this beautiful show curated by Mary Birmingham and Joanne Mattera, including a couple of rule-based installations by Debra Ramsay with 3-D elements, a new departure in her artwork.

Finally an awareness of increasing drizzle sent me back out the door and down the street to rejoin the others in the playground. They had preceded me to, well, the only other attraction near the train station - Hilltop Burger and Fries. My reception was a little grumpy, but the tea was waiting.

What kept you so long?
Tea brewing at Hilltop Burger and Fries,
Summit, NJ.

Untitled (dishrag), 2010
Ink, correction fluid on paper

In Two, Twice, with Yellow and Green, 2012
Thread, gauze, acrylic, paint, pins

Textility included:

Joell Baxter
Caroline Burton
Sharon Butler
Mary Carlson
Jennifer Cecere
Pip Culbert
Elisa D’Arrigo
Grace DeGennaro
Barbara Ellmann
Carly Glovinski
Elana Herzog
Marietta Hoferer
Nava Lubelski
Stephen Maine
Lael Marshall
Derick Melander
Sam Messenger
Sam Moyer
Lalani Nan
Aric Obrosey
Gelah Penn
Debra Ramsay
Susan Still Scott
Arlene Shechet
Susanna Starr
Leslie Wayne
Ken Weathersby
Peter Weber

For more photos and description of Textility, read Joanne Mattera's blog here and here.
A calendar of current exhibitions at the Art Center of New Jersey is available here.
Directions to the art center here.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Gwyneth - this was a wonderful post, as I missed the Textility show... but strolling through your blog (and Joanne Mattera's (thanks for the links!) got a good sense of the show & I feel as though I was there.

    I love your related cups, too!