Shafer Art Gallery to present quilt exhibit

quilty by elizabeth brandt
Elizabeth Brandt, A Map to Get Where I’m Going, 2015; 99 1/2 x 60 1/2 inches, cotton fabric, polyester batting, cotton and polyester thread; Courtesy of the artist, Photo: William Morgan.

June 22, 20221
Story by Joe Vinduska
Courtesy photos submitted

Barton Community College has unveiled an impressive array of textile art titled “Material Pulses: Seven Viewpoints,” which is an exhibition focused on the art of quilt-making. It includes 17 works by seven fiber artists representing the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Shafer Gallery Director Dave Barnes said the quilt exhibit is a perennial favorite of many gallery-goers.

“We have an established tradition of showing quilts at the Shafer Gallery,” he said. “There is something about the ethos of quilt-making that shouts the American experience and the resilience of community values. Hard work, caregiving, the creative use of resources and banding together for a common goal are all aspects of the quilting heritage. Nothing quite illustrates the Shafer Gallery tag line ‘Where the Old West Meets the Future’ so well as the ever-evolving tradition of quilt making.”

Curated by internationally renowned artist and teacher Nancy Crow, “Material Pulses” contributes to the dialogue of contemporary textile arts. 

“Material Pulses is the culmination of my mission to bring back the majesty, strength, and energy of textile works, particularly large quilts,” she said. The exhibition features quilts, mixed media, and installation work. Quilts of up to 101 inches high will be featured for dramatic scale of an art form that is often relegated to its functional qualities. The artists investigate color, pattern, and size through traditional and experimental quilt-making applications. The curator balances a focus on shapes with oversized works, exploring excellence in machine quilting and surface design.

Barnes said this year’s show has a unique focus. 

“With the help of the National Endowment for the Humanities, we are proud to show quilts that come to us from the premiere Exhibits USA traveling art exhibit program,” he said. “The work in this exhibit has been made from a Fine Arts perspective and we hope they will give our visitors a whole new and very contemporary quilt experience. We appreciate the importance and specialness of our area quilters and as part of this exhibit, we are planning on hosting some special events just for them as part of this show.”

This exhibition is toured by Exhibits USA, a national program of the Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA). Exhibits USA sends more than 25 exhibitions on tour to over 100 small-and mid-sized communities every year. According to M-AAA, it aims to “strengthen and support artists, cultural organizations, and communities throughout our region and beyond.”

The exhibit will run through Oct. 20. The Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free.