Friday, May 07, 2010


I have this notebook I take with me when I go to the  Art Institute of Chicago. They recently opened a Modern Wing that is simply stunning. It is a modern Prairie style building that is so bright and clean and open. I prefer modern art over the "Masters". For me, the work by the Masters is more about a story while modern art is more about the feelings and emotions of the artist. The viewer gets to decide for herself what the work means.

At the AIC there is this painting by Barnett Newman which catches my eye every time. It is Untitled 3 and is 56' tall and 3" wide. It juts out from the wall in a 5" frame. It's reddish and silvery grey, very simple. But striking because of the dimensions. I see the painting and want to make a quilt.

There are so many paintings in the Modern Wing that inspire me to make quilts. I have pages upon pages of notes for research. Yesterday I was stalled on the gift quilt since I am waiting on one final photocopy to transfer onto the quilt label. I broke out my idea notebook and decided to research my favorite painting. And I found the following painting...

Barnett Newman - First Station 1958

This is Barnett Newman's Station of the Cross - First Station painting from 1958.  If you are not a fan of modern art this may just look silly. I mean, it looks like someone threw down a strip of masking tape and sloshed some black paint around it, then removed it for a clean line. Modern art is like that. I see some of it and wonder how it ever made its way into an art museum. There is this painting at the Cleveland Museum of Art that always drove me batty. It is huge! And the canvas is painted black with a black gridwork that you can barely make out and the whole thing is surrounded with a black frame. It is hanging in a museum, why? But someone saw something in it just the same as me seeing something in this painting by Barnett Newman.

I spent 4 hours yesterday sketching quilt ideas after seeing this painting. I have pages and pages of sketches complete with technique and color ideas. And then I browsed my Quilt National books so I could see if my ideas were on par with what gets accepted. Some of the quilts are so detailed and intense and others are so simple and intense. Some are stitched and beaded until you can barely see the fabric and others are simply a showcase for the fabric.

This is the year. This is the year I finally woman up and submit something to a juried show. While I hope what I do will get accepted my main goal is to just submit one art quilt. It doesn't sound so lofty a goal when it's typed out but I am pretty insecure when it comes to things like that. I get almost sick to my stomach when I give things away as gifts, sending something to be judged by my peers? Are they even my peers if I've never tried getting into a show? Egads!

1 comment:

SewSofie said...

As someone wrote on my blog recently, its really hard to put yourself out there to be judged. Personally, I think your work is beautiful and unique. I say go for it. I believe in you :)