Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Once & Again: Alterations at the Imperial Centre in Rocky Mount, NC

(Above:  The Patchwork Installation, part of my solo show, Once & Again: Alterations, at the Imperial Centre in Rocky Mount, NC.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

Even before the pandemic, I was thinking about this show.  Of course at the time, I didn't have a venue and I hadn't imagined all the work I would eventually make ... but I dreamed up the idea and even wrote the first rough statement.  All I really knew was that altering the first set of Sun Bonnet Sue quilt blocks with hand-embroidered calls-for-action fulfilled me.  I knew I was giving "second life" to things that might otherwise be discarded.  Since those early days, I've explored all sorts of ways to "update/chance/revive" older textiles into new expressions.  Environmental and feminist issues were stitched in words.  Found objects showed the abundance of life and warned against wasteful habits of adding to landfills. 

(Above:  Two Found Object Mandalas, CRAZY (In the Millenial Age); and Second Marriage in an area at the top of the staircase and directly across from one of the walls featuring The Patchwork Installation.)

Securely a venue is one of the difficult tasks every artist has to face.  I started sending unsolicited proposals in 2019 and managed to get two fine shows.  The first one was in Charlotte, NC at the Overcash Gallery at Piedmont Community College (2021).  The second one was earlier this year at Piedmont Arts, a regional museum in Martinsville, VA.  I was very, very pleased with both these shows but neither were on display for very long.  This one, however, is up through the end of the year!  Plus, the space I was allotted is GIGANTIC!  The photo above is an area at the top of the staircase.  It is directly across from ...

(Above:  The Patchwork Installation.)

... the start of the Patchwork Installation ... on a 16' long wall!  The Imperial Centre is a 135,000 square foot redeveloped site that had once been the Imperial Tobacco Company.  In addition to several galleries for both rotating and permanent visual arts, there's a Children's Museum and Science Center, a community theater, and a planetarium (which is currently experiencing a temporary closure.)  Basically, having a solo show here is a BIG DEAL.  Honestly, I looked at the space and it scared me!  Yet, I had a plan!  I would created The Patchwork Installation especially for this opportunity!

(Above:  The Patchwork Installation ... continues around the corner, across an 8' wall, and then turns down a 40' wall!)

Anyone following this blog (or one of my social media pages!) knows that I've been altering scraps of vintage textiles, tacking them to black frames, and planning to hang them abutting one another as they meander across and literally around the walls.  I've been doing this for several months.  My initial goal was 100 units but I actually stitched 123! 

(Above:  The Patchwork Installation ... meandering down the 40' wall!)

The scraps came from old quilts I was cutting up for my Found Object Mandalas, from box lots of textiles bought at auction or at a thrift shop, and from generous people who donated to my stash.  As I stitched and tacked them pieces to black frames, I envisioned the final arrangement ... but ... it is really difficult to tell a curator how to mount them.  Just the fact that there were over 100 pieces is enough to scare any art installer.  So, I was worried but Joyce Turner, curator and installer, far exceeded my expectations!  Walking into the Imperial Centre the day after the show opened was WONDERFUL.  I almost cried for joy.  My vision became a reality! 

(Above:  Sue's Environmental To Do List, five Found Object Mandalas, and The Feminist To Do List.)

Yet, the exhibit is more than just The Patchwork Installation!  On the opposite side of the 40' wall are more pieces including Sue's Environmental To Do List, five Found Object Mandalas, and The Feminist To Do List.)

(Above:  Sue Goes to the Protest, Oswald Home Laundry flanked by the Black Lives Matter Series; and Sue's Thank You Notes.)

Directly across from the 40' wall is another really long wall on which Sue Goes to the Protest, Oswald Home Laundry, The Black Lives Matter Series, and Sue's Protest Notes are absolutely perfectly hung!

(Above:  The Clothesline.)

Nearby is an elevated hallway to another section of the Imperial CentreThe Clothesline looks great here!  (The Clothesline can be a lot longer.  I think it could encircle a football field.  More of The Clothesline will be hung at my solo show at the Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum in Carrollton, GA later this month!)  I am so very, very happy that all this work is in front of real people!  The pandemic really made me realize how important it is to have others SEE THE WORK and to share images of it when professionally presented.  This show and this blog post sure accomplish this!  Further below are additional images.  Please enjoy!

(Above:  The Feminist To Do List.)
(Above:  Sue's Environmental To Do List.)
(Above:  Sue Goes to the Protest.)
(Above:  Sue's Thank You Notes.)
(Above:  Oswald Home Laundry flanked by The Black Lives Matter Series.)
(Above:  Several Found Object Mandalas and The Feminist To Do List.)


pataksag said...

This is absolutely amazing, so very happy that you have this opportunity to exhibit your art! Perhaps the Cedarburg WI quilt museum would be interested in a similar exhibit?!?

Ann Scott said...

Your work looks spectacular in this venue (even though I'm only seeing it through your camera). The display looks perfect. I can't imagine designing and laying it out. Lucky are those who see it up close. Thank you for sharing in words and pictures and for giving each old textile new life and meaning. I enjoyed your YouTube video too!