(Above: Cotton: Triangular Trade, my installation at the Textile Museum's exhibition Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora. Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)
Steve and I left our home in Columbia, South Carolina on a whirlwind, cross-country trip ... all "in the name of art". We left before sunrise on Saturday, April 9th in order to attend the opening of my solo show, Last Words: Eternal Rest, at the Georgia Agriculture Museum in Tifton, GA. We were in route to Mesa, Arizona ... in order to deliver and hang my solo installation, Threads: Gathering My Thoughts, at the Mesa Contemporary Art Museum. That show went up on Tuesday. All these exciting things were on my last blog post. This blog entry finishes up the trip!
(Above: Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora at the Textile Museum in Washington, DC.)
By 1:00 PM on Friday, Steve and I were at the Textile Museum in Washington, DC. It was an awful lot of driving but well worth it! My installation, Cotton: Triangular Trade, can be seen on the second level in the upper left corner of the photo above.
(Above: A unique, site specific wall installation by Consuelo Jimenez Underwood.)
The view from the staircase and from both levels of the museum is to Consuelo Jimenez Underwood's work. Conseulo was one of six artists invited by the Textile Museum to exhibit art. The rest of the exhibit was juried by the Textile Museum's curators.
(Above: The artists who were able to attend the opening festivities. Photo courtesy of Paolo Zafred.)
Amazingly, over thirty of the artists were in attendance! There are more images of the opening weekend on the SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) website. CLICK HERE to view.
I met many of the artists ... especially since the Textile Museum hosted a Saturday luncheon. I wasn't able to get as many photos as I would have liked ... because everyone was busy! There were crowds of people at each event ... from the private, members-only Friday night reception to the Saturday tours and public "opening day".
Plus ... I get a little nervous around such "big name" artists ... people whose work I've admired for so long ... like Jane Dunnewold.
Another problem with meeting artists is the fact that this show is so diverse, so thought provoking, and so beautifully presented that it commands all attention. Every time I tried to meet another artist, I sucked into another piece of artwork instead!
For me ... just being in a show with Faith Ringgold is mind-blowing! Plus, the show has an amazing flow to it. There were plenty of places in which to consider two pieces together ... noting similarities or different points of view ... the artwork suggesting conversation!
I was honored to have my "cotton" installation hanging directly across from Alice Beasley's Blood Lines. Alice's statement started with: Through the metaphor of a train (a vehicle that moves inexorably through time, picking up people in one place and depositing them in another), this triptych tells the story of the passage of my ancestors from freedom to slavery and into the present. Alice's middle train car depicts slavery in The South ... cotton picking. I think my actual bolls of cotton make her story even more vivid ... touchable ... a little more visceral for most people looking at the exhibit. The two works seem very appropriate together.
On Friday afternoon a videographer came to record three-minute presentations by all the artist who were in attendance. The first person on his list was Alice. Obviously, he turned his camera around ... and I was second.
It was scary ... because this photo doesn't show the fact that about fifty artists were standing around watching! Many were snapping photos too ... which is how I got this shot and the one below! Thankfully, the filming went on for less than three minutes! I talked about the fact that I picked all the cotton myself. Of course, I got to chose a nice, cool autumn day and quit after three bags were collected. It wasn't the life of a slave! I mentioned that from 1708 until the 1930s my state, South Carolina, had a majority slave and later slave descendent population due to the cotton industry's harvesting needs. This was an ugly, dark past ... like the darker portion of my installation ... but with diaspora comes change, often change for the better ... which is why the upper portion is light and airy.
(Above: Me talking to visitors during Saturday's public opening.)
My hope for a better future seems to go well with the last phrase in Alice Beasley's statement: "... I recreate my family as passengers in our second Great Migration out of the Jim Crow South in search of the illusive promise of America." We are both hopeful.
I was happy to leave the Textile Museum early enough on Saturday to meet Steve at the US Botanical Garden. With so many wonderful, free places to visit in Washington, DC, we had never ventured there. It is near the Capitol, part of the National Park System, and totally free for the public to wander around in.
It was fantastic! There are all sorts of areas for various climates, endangered species, and unusual plants.
Here are a few of my favorite photos ... but ... please scroll down! The final days of our whirlwind art trip were to Wildflower Too, an upscale, seasonal gallery on the New Jersey shore where we delivered a sizeable wholesale order of my gallery work!
(Above: Wildflower Too ... one of the owners two storefront galleries in Barnegat Light, New Jersey.)
From DC Steve and I drove to the New Jersey shore to deliver a rather sizable wholesale order of my gallery work! So ... I now have representation in New Jersey and will have work in the gallery's upcoming national fiber show!
(Above: View of Barnegat Light from the top of the mid-19th century lighthouse.)
Steve and I couldn't resist climbing up the 217 steps to the top of the Barnegat Lighthouse. The view was tremendous.
Steve and I have climbed several lighthouses ... even though neither of us particularly like looking straight down! We are home now ... trying to catch up with the work that we didn't do before leaving and trying to get ready for a few more exciting art adventures. I have a performance art installation tomorrow night! I think I'm ready !?! One way or the other, I'll blog it!
I'm linking this blog post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber art.