Janet Swigler / POTENTIAL: QUILTED ABSTRACTIONS
June 6 @ 11:00 am - June 18 @ 3:00 pm
POTENTIAL: QUILTED ABSTRACTIONS
Janet Swigler, Artist
Many quilts in this show include figures that have evolved from a motif of one horizontal line and two vertical lines. The image is a synthesis of red torii gates seen at shrines during four childhood years in Japan, and piers and pilings on southern coasts where I have lived my adult life. The simplicity of that structure offers countless possibilities for variation. The title of the series “Nothing Stays the Same” suggests that the place being remembered has changed over time, that memories of that place change as time passes, and that each new piece in the series evolves from the previous ones.
Some viewers identify the basic figure in this series as an entryway. Potential is within any kind of opening…..doorways, portals, gateways, cracks. Those openings could signify reaching the threshold of an opportunity, and deciding whether to engage it or ignore it. The poet Adrienne Rich reminds us that “The door itself makes no promises. It is only a door.” Recognizing and acting on an opportunity that may be offered only once is the individual’s responsibility.
Stitching, by hand or machine, and manipulating fabric have always been my favorite and most satisfying creative outlets. My quilts are improvisational, cut free-hand, and created intuitively without the use of patterns. A rotary cutter is used to “draw” the lines and shapes before the fabric is sewn together. The quilts are constructed in a traditional manner with a pieced top, batting, and backing all held together by quilting stitches. These intentionally visible stitches add an additional layer of depth and dimension to the quilt surface.
Quilt making, my art form, incorporates principles of art – quality of line, value, proportion, and figure/ground composition. Exploring color, developing a piece as I create it, and imaginative re-structuring of a simple shape or motif are important components. My art honors the tradition of quilt making and shows the versatility of a medium that uses only fabric and thread.
“Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” These words by poet Mary Oliver encapsulate my philosophy for living my life and creating my art. Our world is brimming with wonders if time is taken to notice them and express that appreciation.
Musical training and a career in music education provide additional perspectives and depth of artistic understanding. Observations and reflections of daily life, attentiveness to nature, and a regular tai chi practice inspire and inform my abstract creations. Since retiring in 2013 I have traveled to Ohio numerous times to study with Nancy Crow, an innovator in quilt making and a Master of the Medium in the Smithsonian Museum’s Renwick Alliance.
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