Common Threads

Aug. 4-26
Sponsored by Dean & Mary Harris
First Friday reception Aug. 4, 7-9pm

What do silk and sinew have in common? Both are materials used in Fiber Art, a multifarious genre that continues to become more relevant as the art world’s historic categories blur and redefine. The exhibition Common Threads presents a Fiber Art survey featuring primarily local artists. It strives to revalidate fibers as an art form while also maintaining space for more functional works in fibers, thereby expanding viewers’ definitions of what materials and processes constitute art.

Until the second half of the twentieth century, Fiber Art was seen as craft, secondary and subordinate to painting and sculpture. The 1950s saw the beginning of a shift away from this relegation of craft and, more generally, from the traditional classifications that had limited art’s scope up to that point. With artists like Lenore Tawney and Eva Hesse paving the way in the 1960s and 70s, work made of natural and synthetic fibers made significant contributions to contemporary art.

Common Threads includes examples of weaving, papermaking, felting, knitting, and embroidery. Mary Hertert (Grand Junction) embodies the installation potential of fibers, with suspended spirit figures and an interior garden made out of a myriad of fabrics. Pat Hickman’s (Garnerville, NY) freestanding forms made of animal membrane and wood pulp highlight Fiber Art’s sculptural possibilities. Artists from Grand Junction’s Art Quilt Association (AQuA) demonstrate the possibilities of fibers’ two-dimensionality, with a dazzling array of quilts that range from abstract to representational. Both the AQuA artists and Linda Jean Strand (Aurora, CO) paint with cloth, rendering depth and perspective to convey scenes viewers can imagine themselves in. Also included in the exhibition are Naomi Adams (Pocatello, ID), PJ Bergin (Salida, CO), and Navajo blankets from The Art Center’s permanent collection. All four Art Center galleries are devoted to the exhibition, and not only that—local anonymous yarn bombers have bedecked The Art Center’s courtyard as well.


Above: Naomi Adams, Kindred (detail)

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