2013 – Material Conversations

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Spring (detail) by Ruth Powers

August 2 – September 22, 2013

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Water (detail) by Dora Agbas

Material Conversations is a juried competition showcasing 19 works by 10 artists. This selection of contemporary explorations in fiber arts comes from the Kansas-based group, EDGE, an organization with regional to international membership consisting of fiber artists, art quilters, and mixed media artists.

These EDGE artists (many of whom don’t regard themselves as “artists”, as they identify with other professional backgrounds) draw inspiration from the natural world, the elements, personal challenges, and life events. They refer to the calming repetitive motion of sewing, stitching, and putting things together to make something beautiful. Although each of them uses techniques of traditional quilting, these are not the typical bed covers we associate with quilting. Using cloth much like a painter works with pigment, these are artistic pieces of expression.

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Confetti (detail) by Debi Kibbee

Our guest curator is Lawrence, Kansas art quilter Sharon Bass. When planning this exhibit, her goal was to create “conversations” among the work—to set up relationships through the forms and colors in the pieces. Bass invited artist Bruce McIntosh of Chama, New Mexico, to jury the exhibit. McIntosh was asked to select a show that would hang well together and create a lively, visual conversation. He was intrigued by the relationships among the varied works submitted and said he looked for pieces that richly explored and expanded the conversation.

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Juror Bruce McIntosh

“I think this approach is essential for establishing a more dynamic, stimulating exhibit: a show that more vibrantly expresses the range of possibilities of artists working with textiles and fibers, with surface and texture,” McIntosh said.

We asked Bass why she chose a mixed-media artist who doesn’t work in fiber as the juror. She responded, “The medium isn’t as important as the sensibility of work. McIntosh uses wood and found objects the way we use cloth and found materials.”

Our companion exhibit to this contemporary quilt show features drawings and watercolors from our permanent collection by WPA artists working in Kansas: Kansas WPA Project: Quilts.

Exhibiting Artists

Material Conversations thumb of PDF

Click to view Exhibit PDF

Dora Abgas (Prairie Village, KS) | Linda Filby-Fisher (Overland Park, KS) | Jo Fitsell (Denver, CO) | Patty Hawkins (Estes Park, CO) | Debi Kibbee (Omaha, NE ) | Janet L. Perkins (Lawrence, KS) | Ruth Powers (Carbondale, KS) | Karen Stiehl Osborn (Omaha, NE) | Judith Trager (Boulder, CO) | Carol Watkins (Lafayette, CO) | Charlotte Ziebarth (Boulder, CO)

Featuring work by:
Sharon Bass, guest curator | Bruce McIntosh, juror | Marcia Derse, textile designer

Related Events

First Friday Artwalk & Opening Reception
Friday | Aug 2 | 5:30 – 8:30 PM | Sabatini Gallery
Join us for food, fun, and a first look at our new art exhibit. Meet some of the artists. Start your First Fridays at the Library—we have ample parking that’s perfect for carpooling to other participating Topeka galleries.

Artist Talk with Sharon Bass & Dora Agbas
Saturday | Aug 24 | 2 – 3 PM | Sabatini Gallery
Sharon Bass, guest curator, and Dora Agbas, exhibiting artist in Material Conversations, guide you through this exciting exhibit of art quilts. Hear about the artists, ideas, and techniques of art quilting.

First Friday Artwalk—September
Friday | September 6 | 5:30 – 8:30 PM | Sabatini Gallery
Missed us on the first First Friday? Swing by and see these art quilts before they’re gone. This exhibit closes September 15, 2013.

Michael Perkins

Multimedia Producer and Visual Artist at the library. Painter of the Kids Library Mural and 3D scapes, Designer of the Learn and Play Bus and AdventureMobile. When not at work you can find me drawing, making stuff out of wood and getting into trouble.