|Katie and her mom, two new members of the Met|
|Vincent van Gogh, "Shoes" 1888|
My favorite exhibit of the day featured the Gee's Bends Quilts. In this gallery, I was able to find my inspiration. I've seen many photographs of these quilts online, but never actually saw one up close. I have not mentioned much about quilting in my journaling; this hobby is neither a summer hobby nor an obsession of late. Except for placing one of my quilts on the back of a chair in my studio or napping under another quilt in my air-conditioned house, I have not thought much about them at all. In my creative floundering, I always go back to sewing because I love textiles. And I will most likely return to sewing as soon as I find my balance as a retired person. I love fabrics and I fell deeply in love with quilting. The Gee's Bends exhibit at the Met reminded me of that.
The women from Alabama who created the quilts on exhibit in the Met never saw abstract paintings in a museum. People have mistakingly commented that the influences of abstract art permeate these patched quilts. Are folks trying to validate these quilts as art simply by comparing them to trends of male artists in the art world? The designs we admired in the gallery were traditional designs passed down through generations of women. They were not born out of the work of abstract painters, but out of a quilting tradition. These women did not have a membership to a museum, they did not have access to a fabric store, a rotary cutter, or possibly even a sewing machine. The hands that pieced bits of fabric left over from their family's working clothes into remarkably beautiful designs are visible in every stitch. Their quilts were never expected to be the inspiration for anyone in a museum. They totally wowed me and my gallery mates and successfully directed our conversations to the art on the wall.
This morning, I read a blog post by Becka Rahn, called, "You're Not Doing Art Wrong."
For me, great art is the kind that makes you have a reaction... you looked at it, listened to it, or read it and it caused a reaction. The piece that I make a connection to, isn’t going to be the same one that you make a connection to and it won’t be in the same way. Because connections take two people: the artist and the viewer.
... Sometimes you just need to hear someone else say it. You aren’t doing it wrong... You don’t need someone to tell you that you are making great art for it to be great. It’s going to connect in amazing ways with some people and fizzle with others. That’s what great art does.
Her words hit home today. The day after my day at the Met. Thank you Abby Glassenberg for your link to a new blog. My direction with my art and with my choices for retirement aren't wrong, they are just mine. Becka's written pep talk connected with me in a very right way. Just as my conversations that may have had little to do with the art in the museum connected with me in a very right way. It was a perfect day to be inspired. Thank you, Katie, Vicki, and Ruthie.