Saturday, November 04, 2006

Art Quilts in Tacoma

If you are also readers of June Underwood's and Gerrie Congdon's blogs, this will seem like deja vu, I'm sure. They have already covered the wonderful day we shared together on Thursday, and their pictures look pretty much like mine, but here is yet another version and perhaps I just need to record it for my own personal record.

In case you haven't read the other accounts, the three of us took the train from Portland to Tacoma, principally to view the exhibit of Art Quilts at the American Art Company. June is writing a review for the Art Quilt Reviews web site. My friend, Carla Preston, who lives (until next week) in Tacoma, joined us and was kind enough to drive us around on that rainy, rainy day. We started with a wonderful lunch, then descended upon the American Art Company.

The piece on the right above, Toot Reid's "Twenty," seemed to be our collective favorite, though it seems to be difficult to photograph. My picture certainly does not do it justice. The photo on AAC's web site is only a little better. We were all taken by how much red there was in the quilts as a whole. The show was beautifully hung and progressed in color groupings from a primarily red wall around to a primarily green wall. With a few exceptions the pieces were stylistically and colorwise, elegantly tasteful and compatible. Almost too much so. We all agreed a little edginess and/or innovation would have been refreshing.

After we left the AAC we made our way to the Tacoma Art Museum and discovered one of those kind of wonderful surprises that you sometimes just happen across without any prior knowledge. An exhibit of work by Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson kept us enthralled for over an hour. Her textile/sculpture/collage/paintings are so rich and so exuberant that it is hard to take it all in in one viewing. Using found objects and personal treasures, she has created a whole universe of African American memory and culture that is at once joyful, thoughtful, tragic and poignant. This was my favorite piece, using old ties and bits of batting, yarn and old quilts. (Note the size—it is quite large) You can see more about this exhibit here. It will be in Tacoma through January and then travels to Toledo, Ohio. Certainly worth seeing.

Days like we had feed me in a way that is hard to describe. Viewing art is among my favorite things to do, but doing it with like-minded friends, sharing an adventure, enjoying good food and the followup discussion of what we've seen is a kind of sustenance. The proof lies in the fact that I came home and began work on a new piece fueled by all that inspiration.


  1. I haven't read Gerrie's or June's blog yet, so this is news for me...I like the glass pieces coupled with the quilts at AAC and I'm definitely placing Aminah's Toledo showing on my calendar...enthralling is the perfect word to describe looking at her work.

  2. Anonymous11:00 PM

    I'm so glad you found Aminah Robinson's work on the web. I wish there were more photos. Her work is beyond description and truly wonderful. I'm still thinking about it.

    And hey, it seems as if we were all inspired by the trip. Tomorrow I get to do some serious work. June