January 11-March 7, 2020
Michael A. Cummings: Quilt Portraits
Judith Content: Quilt Landscapes
and additional works by Susan Hudson and Victoria Findlay Wolfe
The Craft in America Center is pleased to present QUILTS: 4 Directions, featuring portraits by Michael A. Cummings, landscapes by Judith Content and selected additional quilts by Susan Hudson and Victoria Findlay Wolfe. With this exhibition, the Center will proudly feature the work of these four diverse and visionary art quilters from across the U.S. This striking exhibition brings to Los Angeles some of the vibrant, vital works featured in Craft in America’s upcoming PBS episode QUILTS, which airs on December 27, 2019 nationwide.
For the first time in his career, five quilt portraits by NY-based Michael A. Cummings of African American heroes will be gathered together in his hometown of Los Angeles. Cummings creates monumental quilted portraits of larger-than-life historic icons, including Ella Fitzgerald, Martin Luther King Jr., Josephine Baker, James Baldwin, and Mae Jemison. Historically, quilting has served as a means of record keeping for African Americans and Cummings advances this tradition. Coinciding with African American History month, Cummings’ quilts show a reverence for cultural leaders and celebration of representation.
Paired with the portraits in the adjoining gallery are abstracted, quilted landscapes by Judith Content, who uses the sewing machine as a drawing tool to achieve an evanescent visual haiku that communicates to viewers both emotionally and intellectually. Content’s work is particularly relevant during this era of environmental crisis and flux. Each piece is inspired by the interplay of light and shadow that occurs within natural landscapes, exploring the essence of an image, memory, or moment in time. Relying on intuition and experience, she dyes, pieces, quilts and applies appliqué, to achieve a perfect haiku that draws upon the audience’s memories and experiences upon viewing the finished piece.
March 14-May 2, 2020
Based on the upcoming Craft in America episode, IDENTITY, PBS premiere Dec 27, 2019 (check local listings).
Here/Now: Contemporary Narrative and Form in the Yunomi is a ceramic invitational, which will consist of a small group of ceramic artists. Each individual has been asked to construct a series of yunomi, which translates from Japanese into ‘hot water drink.’ Within the confines of functional intention, the yunomi is the ultimate drinking vessel. The cylinder, being the root structure of most ceramic objects, lead to the yunomi, which can be playful and quickly made. The yunomi is a foundational form for most makers, inviting many options, directions, and intent. This exhibition broadens the opportunity for the maker to bring narrative, social political, economic, or environmental concern to the conversation.
This exhibition will examine how the yunomi can be read as a loaded traditional object. Using the platform of the yunomi, this exhibition seeks to explore the historical ideal of the humble anonymous Japanese potter as it translates into American idealism of self-experience. The tension of this dichotomy makes for a compelling conversation where makers can bring contemporary issues and ideas to the table and where the yunomi insists on a casual egalitarianism among its makers. We have assembled, in the spirit of the yunomi, a range of contemporary vessel makers who are dedicated to rethinking traditional ideas. Redefining and interpreting the significance of the yunomi begins a 21st century dialog regarding the modern family, union, equality, identity, and perhaps, personal journey.
Guest curators: Nikki Lewis and Katie Queen
Location Services presents three distinct perspectives on place through the lens of contemporary jewelry and small objects. Location Services brings together the work of Motoko Furuhashi, Kerianne Quick, and Demitra Thomloudis and features an on-site collaboration / research space shared between the artists. Viewers will be invited into the process through interactive features of the artists’ work.
Location Services looks at site as inspiration, material, and a point of interaction through three distinct craft practices. Furuhashi, Quick, and Thomloudis turn their focus on Los Angeles, to reveal a cyclical inquiry, converging on one place to discover and talk about another. Three contiguous perspectives, three craft practices, one city. Through the creation of wearables, all three promote a conversation about place.
The Craft in America Center is pleased to present Consume: Handcrafting L.A. Restaurant Design, an exhibition that will focus on handmade objects made by over 30 local artists for Southern California restaurants. The exhibition will feature all forms of items associated with food consumption, including: serving boards, dishware, glasses, lighting, and furnishings. Various media will be represented ranging from ceramics to wood to metal and more. The intersection of design, art, and craft to enhance dining will be the crux of this show.
Food was a motivational font for craft from its earliest origins. Craft has facilitated and elevated the act of cooking and consumption throughout history, from woven baskets to clay storage jars. Well-executed serving pieces and kitchen tools transform the edible experience and encourage us to stop and think about what we eat and how things taste. As creators of American material culture, craft makers design and build the relics of our everyday, modern world, and food is focal. Craft today plays a part in how we interact with food and deepens the ideology of sustainability and terroir.
Throughout the run of the exhibition, we will be hosting Chef / Maker Talks, panel discussions in which chefs will be in dialogue with craft artists and designers about their collaborations and the role of design and visual art in their industry. The modern restaurant has become a landscape infused deeply with craft and setting for creative craft expression. The exhibition and programs will explore the interdisciplinary nature of craft in restaurants today.
Irving Place Studio
Patrick Johnston Ceramics
Mt Washington Pottery
Objects for Others
Third Life Design
Objects found at restaurants including:
Church + State
Hinoki & the Bird
Support provided by Pasadena Art Alliance, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, and the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles.
Craft in America’s permanent collection features objects, many of which were created by artists whose stories were captured in the series. Each of these artists push materials to new heights and also expand tradition into new realms. Craft in America is proud to have created a family of artists that continue to engage communities and to inspire through their mastery.
Craft in America Center is pleased to present an exhibition that explores the ongoing influence of Anni Albers through the work of ten contemporary American artists and designers working with textiles. Material Meaning: A Living Legacy of Anni Albers includes work by artists Samantha Bittman, Lois Bryant, Christy Matson, Jennifer Moore, Brittany Wittman McLaughlin, Rachel Snack, Susie Taylor, Cameron Taylor-Brown, Suzanne Tick, and Marcia Weiss.
The artists’ artwork, experiments, and functional woven textiles and prototypes mirror Albers’ varied design practice. This exhibition is only a taste of Albers’ impact given the broad and deep nature of her career. It explores Albers’ continued importance as interpreted by a group of current practitioners in the fields of art, handweaving, education, and textile design. This exhibition coincides with and celebrates the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus, where Albers studied and later taught. As a teacher, Albers helped establish a pedagogy that many of these artists use today. In fact, some of the artists will be giving workshops at the Center during the run of the exhibition.
Each participating artist draws upon different aspects of Albers’ artworks and designs. Samantha Bittman is fascinated by Albers’ ability to make her weavings into the pictorial subject rather than making a picture with her weavings. Recently, Bittman gained a deeper understanding of the artist with her Artist-in-Residency at the Josef and Anni Albers foundation where she was able to weave on Albers’ loom and live amongst her works. Lois Bryant explores Albers’ idea of “the shaping of the shapeless” and the limitations imposed by the materials, but not the limitations imposed by tradition. Christy Matson draws from Albers’ spirit of experimentation yet dedication to formalism in areas of design. Like Albers, Jennifer Moore travels to visit other cultures and draws inspiration from other weaving techniques, both old and new. Brittany Wittman McLaughlin learned, through Albers, that weaving is an art and a science of color interactions and textures of the various yarns and materials. Coming out of Albers’ study of touch, Rachel Snack’s textiles create a physical memory bearing witness to the hand of the artist, becoming a material portrait of the self. Susie Taylor pulls from the artist’s work to find her own rhythms and surface interest while resisting extraneous design elements based on Albers’ idea that “simplicity is not simpleness but clarified vision.” As Albers ignored the often-arbitrary boundaries between handweaving, textile design, and art making, Cameron Taylor-Brown found direction in her career based on that. Suzanne Tick states that her early weavings favored Albers’ style of working with alternative materials, exposing the warp, geometric patterning, and putting multiple threads in the weft shed. In Anni Albers On Weaving, she speaks of the ‘elemental’ nature of tactile experiences and of “material in the rough,” which influenced Marcia Weiss in her creative process: examining each of the materials for its essential properties—fiber, hand, luster, surface.
This exhibition is guest curated by Cameron Taylor-Brown.
Catalog: Material Meaning: A Living Legacy of Anni Albers by Cameron Taylor-Brown and Brittany Wittman McLaughlin. Published October 2019 by The Weaving Workshop in collaboration with the Craft in America Center. Softcover. 84 pages. To purchase the catalog ($36), visit: theweavingworkshop.com/material-meaning
The Craft in America Center is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Los Angeles-based artist Karyl Sisson. The materials of everyday life, both past and present, are the fibers that Sisson weaves together to form sculptural and textured forms. Sisson draws inspiration from sources as diverse as Los Angeles’ landscape, microbiology, and fashion manufacturing. Glimpsing back at her work over three decades, pattern, repetition, and structure are unifying and focal themes that she explores dimensionally from her foundation in basketry and needlework. This exhibition will feature early works alongside her most recent creations-a glimpse into the oeuvre of this remarkable artist.
After studying painting and drawing at NYU, Sisson moved to Los Angeles and entered graduate school in 1983 at UCLA where she studied with Bernard Kester, one of the pioneering voices in the establishment of fiber as an art medium in the 1960s and 1970s. Ed Rossbach, Judy Chicago, Miriam Shapiro, Esther Parkhurst, and Neda al Hilali are among the artists who inspired her work and exploration of fiber early on.
Part scavenger, part collector, and wholly meticulous craftsperson, Sisson’s work delves deeply into the possibilities that exist within the discarded and overlooked. Over the decades, Sisson has transformed familiar objects such as vintage zippers, clothespins, tape measure, buttons, and paper straws into abstract forms, vessels, and architectural structures. In her choice of reinventing undervalued materials, Sisson manages to confront domesticity and traditional gender roles. Her recent work with paper straws draws inspiration from cells and organisms, which inform the objects as she composes them and they grow seemingly naturally.
“My practice is a means for exploring the physical and psychological properties of holes, cavities, insides, and outsides. I’m influenced by the beauty and simplicity of ancient, indigenous, and animal architecture, organic growth, and patterns found in nature and in the nature of man.”– Karyl Sisson
Learn more about her work at www.karylsisson.com
Photos by Madison Metro
Craft in America is also supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.
Craft in America will be hosting Fiber Art Now’s juried exhibition of fiber-based artworks from around the country. Jurors Beth Mclaughlin (Head Curator, Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, Massachusetts), Perry Price (Executive Director, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft), and Carol Sauvion (Creator, Executive Producer and Director of Craft in America) selected over 15 works from five categories:
Two-dimensional works, including quilts, tapestries, weavings, carpets, or works in any other fiber-related medium or technique that are intended for wall or floor display)
Three-dimensional works in fiber.
Functional work and sculptural expressions of the vessel form.
Three-dimensional work created as an environment.
Body adornments, including wearable art clothing, accessories and jewelry.
Kate Barber, Linda Henke, Nancy Loorem Adams, Pamela Becker, Cheri Dunnigan, Kari Lonning, Dorothy McGuinness, Kathryn Rousso, Eva Camacho-Sanchez, Sarah Haskell, Wence Martinez, Gail Resen, Laura Strand, Kathy Knapp, and Linda Colsh.
California Visionaries: Seminal Studio Craft, Featuring Works from the Forrest L. Merrill Collection
Craft in America Center will inaugurate its newly-designed gallery with a landmark exhibition of over 50 historic key works by many of the most influential and innovative Californian craft artists from the mid-twentieth century.
California has been the fertile epicenter for craft investigation in the art world. Employing various materials, techniques and concepts, visionary Californian artists have been at the forefront of the American craft movement. Spanning ceramics, metal, wood, fiber and glass, the objects in California Visionaries: Seminal Studio Craft, Featuring Works from the Forrest L. Merrill Collection reflect the ingenuity and the birth of studio craft. These artists imagined new methods of achieving their vision.
After WWII, California became an especially important place for artists who turned their focus toward craft-based media and processes. Lured by climate, geography, and an inherent spirit of openness, artists who made the state their home found that they were unbounded in their pursuits. Numerous college and university programs were established in schools across the state offering unparalleled training in fiber, ceramics, metal, glass, and wood. California became a hub for creative production and artistic investigation.
This exhibition prominently features the collection of Forrest L. Merrill, widely considered the most significant collection of California studio craft. Merrill’s collection includes some of the finest examples of works made by revered Californian craft pioneers and visionaries over the past century. Since Merrill acquired his first work of art as a high school student, he has taken a visionary approach to collecting in seeking out technical innovation, subtlety, and material mastery. Merrill has supported the limitless possibilities of craft and formed deep friendships with the artists who create these works.
Merrill, through his distinctive approach to collecting, has played an important role in the story of craft. For him, the art and artist are inseparable and he nurtures the artists whose objects he discovers. One such artist is Bay Area resident Kay Sekimachi, who considers him a mentor and a friend. Sekimachi, whose acclaimed experimental work led her to invent complex on- and off-loom weaving techniques, will be featured in this exhibition.
This exhibition will celebrate Californian visionary artists who shaped the future with a far-reaching commitment to expand craft, art and design, break barriers and forge new visions all their own.
“I’m not particularly interested in just showing pretty things. I want the work to have a story. I want the artist, through their work, to tell a story.”
– Forrest L. Merrill
Photos by Denise Kang