Sightlines Curator's Statement


It was my joyful task to invite the fourteen artists who created the large and unique installations comprising Sightlines.

My vision for Sightlines was of a collection of artwork that was so strong and meaningful that the required continuous sightline would be subverted and assume secondary importance.

I wanted artists for Sightlines who were making art about Something. Not necessarily something momentous or earthshaking, but definitely artwork about something that motivated the artist to create artwork of the highest standards both in its materiality and its meaning. We have all seen art that is gorgeous and technically brilliant, but so mindless and without depth that we do no more than glance at it and then glance away, disappointed.

As I studied artists’ images and websites, I had this quote posted near my computer (from Barbara Kingsolver, writing in Small Wonders about her definition of a good short story):

It will tell something remarkable, it will be beautifully executed, and it will be nested in truth. If it can tell me something I didn’t already know, or maybe suspected, but never framed quite that way, or never before had socked me so divinely in the solar plexus, that was a story worth the read.

The invited artists were already creating artwork that promised a personal, dynamic, and coherent installation for Sightlines. Their artwork not only told an intriguing story, but also enlarged our definition of what an art quilt might be.

It may be argued that the overriding theme of the artwork created for Sightlines is the interaction of time, personal history, and memory. Perhaps the requirement of a continuous line throughout the exhibit ultimately could not be subverted and provoked this thematic trajectory in conscious and unconscious ways.

Britta Ankenbauer’s and Annie Helmericks-Louder’s artworks speak to our hyper-consumerism and our shortsightedness as a sentient species. They ask us to slow down and to become more mindful of our place in a larger world.

Shelley Brenner Baird contemplates the role of randomness in our lives, the predictability of unpredictability. Yael David-Cohen explores windows as a metaphor for what we reveal and what we conceal from the world.

Regina Benson’s wildfires, Sue Dennis’s dry lands, Wendy Lugg’s “new land,” and Pat Owoc’s sweeping prairies all distill for us basic stories about history, emotion, and memory tied to very specific landscapes.

In each of their artworks, Linda Colsh, Kathy Nida, and Jayne Willoughby Scott discuss the convoluted triumphs and tragedies of our short lives as humans. These stories are found in a playful interaction with a red umbrella, in the craziness of a daily life full of vigor, or in a poem written for a funeral.

Fulvia Luciano and Mirjam Pet-Jacobs both explore the difficulties of making connections, of building bridges of understanding. Their artworks speak to us about longing and missed opportunities. In contrast, Leni Levenson Wiener’s artwork shows us that relationships are at the core of our existence, even though we all begin and end our life’s journey alone.

Each of the artists has brought to her Sightlines artwork knowledge, wit, passion, maturity, confidence, and a point of view. These fourteen artists are indeed telling stories about Something.

I thank Studio Art Quilt Associates for the opportunity to serve as curator for this exhibit and Peg Keeney for serving as a patient resource.

— Virginia Spiegel


Virginia A. Spiegel’s artwork is exhibited and is held in private and permanent collections in the United States and internationally. She serves as a curator/juror for mixed-media and fiber exhibitions. Her artwork and writing about art, creativity, and her adventures in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness have been featured in books, magazines, and online.

Spiegel maintains a regular blog and was the author of The Garbage Day Project, a tongue-in-cheek look at garbage, art, and recycling in her rural suburban neighborhood. Her latest book is Wild at the Edges: Inspiration from a Creative Life.