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India Through Beginner's Eyes: New Textiles by Michael James -  Modern Arts Midtown  •   Omaha, Nebraska
May 4, 2018 - May 25, 2018

“India Through Beginner’s Eyes: New Textiles by Michael James,” a solo exhibition of work by the department chair of Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design (TMFD) at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.  

In late 2016 and early 2017 James was one of four College of Education and Human Sciences (CEHS) faculty members who teamed up to lead a joint study tour to India for students from Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design and from the Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management program in the Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences. Ahead of the two-week tour, James spent an additional week doing field research in central Rajasthan, supported in part by an Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources International Impact Award and a CEHS International Seed Grant. The three-week experience was, for James, both revelatory and transformative. “I’ve had a lifelong interest in India, in its arts and diverse cultures, and despite all that I thought I knew going into the trip, it all really moved me in a profound way.”

Being a first-time traveler in the country gave James the opportunity to see with what he calls “beginner’s eyes.” First timers “may not always see beyond the surface or with real penetration,” James stated, “but they tend to notice the unusual in the ordinary, the remarkable in the overlooked, the beautiful in those things taken for granted by others who possess longtime or daily familiarity.” James, who has built a long visual arts career working with color and pattern in his complex, non-traditional quilts, was most attracted by “the vernacular architecture of the places I visited and the detailing, often eccentric and improbable, that distinguishes one building or alley or interior courtyard from another.” Returning from the trip, James set to work manipulating some of the hundreds of photographs he took while in India, altering color, layering and combining and cropping, and finally printing these “pastiches” as he describes them onto cotton fabric with TMFD’s Mimaki digital textile printer. That resulting yardage was then cut, combined and sewn to create evocative textile constructions alluding to the actual and metaphorical doors and passageways through which James traveled while in India.


Reception: May 4, 2018 from 6 - 8 pm


Haveli 1 (Juna Mahal)

Michael James - Haveli 1 (Juna Mahal) 




Venue Info:
Modern Arts Midtown
3615 Dodge St. 
Omaha, NE 68131
United States