sustainABILITY: Fiber Artists’ Ideas to Improve Our World at the WMA
From Feb. 3 – March 17, Windgate Museum of Art at Hendrix College features quilts exploring questions of care for Earth, sculptures made from reclaimed plastics, paintings seeking to reconnect humanity with the land, and commentary on the war in Ukraine
CONWAY, Ark. (January 31, 2023) — The Windgate Museum of Art at Hendrix College (WMA) announces “sustainABILITY,” an exhibition featuring 33 contemporary art quilts, each exploring solutions to improve sustainability in two-dimensional and three-dimensional works; two sculptures with reclaimed plastics as the primary medium; Ukraine-focused artwork and poetry; and “Land as a Living Room,” 15 paintings that will be introduced by an artist talk Thursday, Feb. 2 at 4 p.m. The exhibitions open at noon Friday, Feb. 3 and will remain on view through March 17, 2023. An opening reception runs from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 3 and the public is welcome. The WMA is numbered 3a on the current campus map.
Quilts as Metaphor in ‘sustainABILITY’
Organized by Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA), “sustainABILITY” challenges viewers to consider how we can meet our needs in the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. All of the exhibition’s artwork in some way illustrates our complex interconnectedness with nature and covers a vast range of topics—industry, agriculture, daily living, and the natural world.
Tali Weinberg, juror for the exhibition, asks, “What does sustainability mean in this time of climate crisis? What is to be sustained, and for whom? How might quilts guide an exploration of these questions?” These are the questions at the heart of “sustainABILITY,” which addresses some of today’s most pressing environmental issues. Weinberg says, “Historically, quilts are objects of comfort which are constructed by bringing together disparate elements to make a whole. This practice of accumulation, improvisation, reimagining, recycling, repairing, and remixing is a perfect metaphor for the theme of this exhibition.”
Studio Art Quilt Associates, Inc., is an international non-profit organization dedicated to informing the public about the continuing achievements of the art quilt movement. SAQA’s 3,300 members include artists, collectors, curators, art dealers, and corporate sponsors. Since its founding more than 25 years ago, SAQA has mounted juried exhibitions featuring the work of members at museums and galleries throughout the world.
“sustainABILITY” and the additional collections below will be on exhibit at the WMA, located on the campus of Hendrix College near the corner of Winfield and Harkrider streets, through March 17. The galleries are open Tuesday through Saturday between 12 and 5 p.m. The WMA is always free and open to all.
Sculptures by Sayaka Ganz
Sculptural works that will grace the WMA’s atrium during “sustainABILITY” are by Sayaka Ganz, a Japanese sculptor living and working in Indiana. “Storm” was created in 2018 from reclaimed plastics with a welded aluminum armature and will “fly” above visitors with her 6-foot wingspan. “Dive” the penguin, also made from reclaimed plastic objects, will join “Storm” in the atrium. He is visiting campus to catch up with his other penguin friends who live nearby in Hendrix’s Olin C. Bailey Library rotunda. They were also created by Ganz and were acquired in 2014 by Hendrix College as a part of the permanent art collection.
‘Art in a Time of War’ and ‘Dear Ukraine: A Global Community Poem’
Artwork by Olga Morozova, a Ukrainian artist and teacher based in Kyiv, and her students from across Ukraine will be on display in the Window Gallery, available for viewing 24/7 through March 17. The paintings, drawings, and prints are not about the war itself, but about the humanitarian catastrophe that the Ukrainian people are going through. Works on display show the candles used for illumination to create art or finish homework while the electricity is off for hours several times a day; “alarm backpacks” used during an air raid to carry everything of importance, including pets; and Kyiv streets prepared for battle.
“Dear Ukraine” provides a space for individuals around the world to speak to the unfolding atrocities of the war against Ukraine and its people. Although the focus of this project is on Ukraine, it acknowledges the long histories of millions around the globe who have been, and continue to be, devastated by forces of oppression that endanger life and deny human rights. The museum lobby will host a participatory display of Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach’s poem, “Dear Ukraine,” which includes prompts for visitors to share their own voices. Dasbach, who was born in Ukraine, is an Assistant Professor and Murphy Fellow in English and Creative Writing at Hendrix College.
‘Land as a Living Room’: Works by Annie Helmericks-Louder
Annie Helmericks-Louder, an artist who spent much of her childhood hiking and backpacking with very long stretches of time living, sleeping, and playing completely outdoors, says her work grows from the upbringing that immersed her in nature, never questioning that the environments in which she played and explored were her living rooms. Her work prompts viewers to question their relationship to the land: “How can we make entry back into sacred relationship with our land more porous? How can we pass the threshold of separation back into awareness with kindness and caring?”
Helmericks-Louder’s exhibition “Land as a Living Room” features 15 works of art inspired by her relationship with the outdoors and also by May Swenson’s poem, “Earth Your Dancing Place”:
“Take earth for your own large room
and the floor of the earth
carpeted with sunlight
and hung round with silver wind
for your dancing place.”
—May Swenson, 1913-1989
For more information about these exhibitions or the museum and its mission, visit www.windgatemuseum.org.
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