LA GRANGE, TEXAS — March 13, 2015 — This spring, the Texas Quilt Museum will debut three unique exhibits that highlight the rich tradition of the art form at the forefront of both antique and contemporary quilts. Whether they are spotlighting the work of a solo artist or the anonymous talents of past makers, the exhibits explore the design and artistic execution of grids. Under an umbrella title of “Gridlock,” the exhibits, “Sue Benner: Circling the Square,” “Antique Log Cabin Quilts from the International Quilt Study Center and Museum,” and “Vintage Apps: Block Quilts and Appliqué” will all be on view from April 2-June 28.
Benner will also give a free gallery talk on April 11 at 2 p.m. Dr. Sandra Sider, Museum Curator, quotes trumpet master Wynton Marsalis on the concept of grids: “Swing is extreme concentration. It’s maintaining balance, equilibrium. It’s about executing very difficult rhythms with panache…and the elegant way that you negotiate your way through that grid.”
The three dozen quilts by Benner, who paints and prints most of her fabrics in collage fashion, credits the visual impact of geometric Amish quilts as a major influence. Benner is a well-known teacher, lecturer and juror. “The act of creating is a fascinating process of choice and discovery,” she says. “The work has taught me to respect intuition, persistence, and the happy accident.” The exhibit title plays on the ancient geometric challenge of squaring the circle, referring, for example, to her Cellular Structure series in which organic circular and oval lines overlay their supporting grids.
Ten antique Log Cabin quilts from the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska include several examples of the grid in dynamic settings of the time-honored Log Cabin pattern. Although the makers of Log Cabin quilts assemble them in square units that form an overall grid, the manipulation of colors and tones often subverts the grid’s order.
The appliqué block is one of the most traditional sources of design. These nine quilts from the collection of International Quilt Festival – many of which have never been shown publicly – showcase one of the very foundations of quilting. “In our spring exhibition, we can enjoy the various ways in which quiltmakers negotiated the grid, appreciating the challenges they gave themselves of maintaining equilibrium in the context of cloth,” Dr. Sider sums up. That makes this “Gridlock” one that quilters and art aficionados won’t mind being stuck in!
The Texas Quilt Museum is located at 140 W. Colorado St., La Grange, Texas 78945. It opened in 2011 and is housed in two 19th-century buildings in the Historic District of La Grange. Its restoration has won both Preservation Texas and Main Street awards. The Museum complex also includes a period Texas garden with a monumental 13’ x 85’ outdoor mural, Quilts: History in the Making, as its focal point. Learn more at www.texasquiltmuseum.org