Category Archives: World War II

Crafting Democracy: Fiber Arts And Activism

Show to travel!

Organizers of Crafting Democracy: Fiber Arts and Activism recently announced the show will travel to The Sculpture Center, Cleveland, Ohio, November 29, 2019 – January 10, 2020 and Bevier Gallery Rochester Institute of Technology, College of Art and Design, February 14-March 14, 2020, with additional venues to be announced. If you have a venue looking for a great show this summer, please contact the organizers through: https://www.craftingdemocracy.com/.

Juilee Decker, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Museum Studies Program and Hinda Mandell, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Communication at the Rochester Institute of Technology co-curated the exhibition Crafting Democracy: Fiber Arts and Activism and edited the beautifully designed catalog of the same name. Betty M. Bayer, professor of Women’s Studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, writes in the foreward to the catalog, “Every thread, fiber, weave, and stitch reinvents art and craft as democracy’s warp and weft—needling, in significant ways, relations of gender, race, class, and justice.”

Jacket cover design by Marnie Soom, design specialist with RIT Press.  (Artist credit from homepage belongs to Eva Camacho-Sánchez : “Enough.”)

The show features work by thirty-two artists. My piece, titled “Resist,” is included in the exhibition. For the catalog statement, I wrote:

Acts of resistance are documented in the literature about life in the Polish ghettos and concentration camps of World War II. I honor the individuals who had the courage to act morally in the face of life-threatening and deadly conditions with the weaving titled Resist. The word continues to resonate today.

The show runs through October 25, 2019 at the Anthony Mascioli Gallery, Harold Hacker Hall, Central Library of Rochester.

At the Fence # 5, Love of my Brother. 1991.

This weaving was the last of a series of “At the Fence” weavings. Originally from NJ, I live in the Midwest and shortly after moving to Nebraska in 1986 I learned that I was living in what some have termed “the nuclear heartland.”  The first four weavings from this series examined the human toll of the use of nuclear weapons during WWII and the devastating impact the two bombs, Fat Man and Little Boy, had on the residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Heroic individuals dedicated their lives during the cold war (and beyond) to protest our government’s continued development and stockpiling of nuclear weapons.

At the Fence # 5, Love of my Brother. 1991. 75″ x 60″.
Multi-shaft weaving with twill inlay weft on satin weave. Warp screen printed and dyed. Cotton, wool, rayon, linen dyed with fiber reactive dye. Mounted on wood with encaustic.

In October 1987 I spent the night as part of a missile vigil in the Kadoka, South Dakota area, sleeping alongside an MX missile with my two female companions and an armored personnel carrier. The organizers of the vigil alerted the Air Force we would be camping out at selected missile sites in the area.

The image of the fence was my way to pay tribute to the people who sacrificed their freedom to protest and practice civil disobedience at the fences of various facilities in the USA and abroad. This last weaving in the series brought the imagery to the current time in the early 1990’s, with faces of people engaged in human rights struggles, or perpetuating those struggles in the name of the armed forces, around the world—for example in South Africa, Honduras, and Panama.

This weaving is included in Fiber Arts IX. Sebastopol Center for the Arts. Aug. 2- Sept. 8, 2019.

There’s Always an Apex Predator

Tugboat Gallery, Lincoln, Nebraska’s most hip alternative space presented “There’s Always an Apex Predator” featuring new work by Jay Kreimer and Wendy Weiss, September 2-29, 2016.

“There’s Always an Apex Predator” explores crocodiles, prisoners of war, the holocaust and more though painted wood sculptures, digitally cut vinyl wall installations, prints and a sound score by Jay Kreimer and Adam Zahller. The work in this collaborative exhibition is entirely new and is drawn from experiences in India, personal and world history, and current political events.p1070795-sm

Kreimer’s father was a prisoner of war in World War ll. He was captured at the Battle of the Bulge. Kreimer states his father was “marched and marched, lined up at a pit to be shot, was not shot, and ended at Stalag lXB, Bad Orb, Germany.” Weiss adds this was “the worst German prison camp from which, in 1945, Jewish prisoners and perceived troublemakers were sent to the Berga concentration camp, a slave labor camp that mixed American POWs with Holocaust victims in a work to death frenzy.” Eldon Kreimer spoke little about his time in Stalag lXB, but he did tell a story about dividing a packet of raisins from a Red Cross package between his fellow prisoners. Starving, as they all were, he held back three extra raisins for himself and ate them. Later he felt compelled to confess this transgression to his group. Three raisins.p1070801-sm
Our interest in his experience paralleled what developed from a latent interest for me about the Holocaust and cruelties in Europe during World War ll. As a child, my father had been gripped with the significance Holocaust and the industrialized murder of European Jews. In 2014, unintentionally, we stayed on the site of the Łódź Ghetto in Poland, called the “Litzmannstadt Getto” because during the war the occupiers briefly renamed the city after a German general who invaded the city in WWI.

text-wall-wweiss

Other forms of predation entered our thoughts. Animals and insects in the service of men to torment—dogs and fleas—for example.

p1070805We lived for much of the past few years in Vadodara, Gujarat, a city of two million with the distinction of harboring the largest population of wild crocodiles in a city of that size in the world. They conclude, “so the crocodiles came to this party: Apex Predators.”

p1070768-sm

Thanks to Nebraska Innovation Studio, a makerspace/fab lab, on Nebraska Innovation Campus, where we use terrific equipment and workspace for the development of the vinyl portion and some of the wood working portions of the installation. Check it out! And much gratitude to Peggy and Nolan and the super helpers at Tugboat.