Lincoln, NE–Exhibition curator Katelyn Farneth, brought together a group of sixteen women artists from the mid-west to anchor a what could become the first annual FiberFest in Lincoln. Work in the exhibition features text applied to textile with embroidery (Jen Bockelman), quilting (McKenzie Phelps and Celeste Butler), and machine embroidery (Camille Hawbaker Voorhees), to point out a few. Other artists work with dimensional materials to create forms in space. All artists manipulate their chosen textile material(s) to maximize the ways color, pattern, and texture combine to express and reveal. The combination of work is beguiling, with bountiful use of color to draw in the viewer. Each artist contributed two or more works, allowing for depth in the show. The thoughtful installation of the work, with each artists’ work hung as a group, allows the viewer to spend time with each artist’s expressions.
Continuing the legacy of women driving the fiber movement, these artists boldly work in mediums once relegated to craft and breathe new life and a sense of urgency into their chosen mediums. With the #MeToo movement taking our country by storm and the threat to women’s bodily autonomy becoming more real every day, being a female artist working in mediums once considered domestic and “lesser” is both an act of defiance and celebration
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.
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.