Friday, March 26, 2010

On the Road: Art Quilts Exhibition, Morris Museum

Yesterday, I combined a date night with an art exploration date.  Ron went with me to the Art Quilts:  Contemporary Expressions from the Collection of John M. Walsh III exhibit at the Morris Museum in Morristown, NJ.  It was my third trip to the museum related to this show; once we arrived late, and we able to see the exhibit, albeit quickly, thanks to the generosity of an employee; once, I went with my friend Karen to hear Carol Schepps, one of quiltmakers, talk about her art quilt journey, and this time, to photograph the quilts. 
John ("Jack") Walsh is head of Waltron, a NJ-based, international water treatment company, and many of the pieces in this exhibit (close to 40 quilts) have some kind of aquatic imagery.  He has been collecting art quilts since the 1990s, and his curator is Penny McMorris.  Ms. McMorris is, I've read, responsible for coining the term art quilt.    In speaking with a museum employee, I learned Mr. Walsh displays the quilts in his home and business, and has a room set aside for their storage.   

What I loved about the collection was its diversity.  You will recognize many of the artists in the collection:  Velda Newman, Michael James,  BJ Adams, Lucky Shie, Nancy Crow, Jan Myers Newbury; but there are also artists to whom you will be introduced, such as Joy Saville, Kay Kahn, and  Tim Harding.  Ron's comment on one of the pieces was that he didn't think it was a quilt, which I thought was the point of the show.

During the exhibit, the museum hosted artist Carol Schepps, who spoke about her journey as an art quilter.  Carol's quilt Color Squares is featured in the show.  She was a fun and free spirit, who came to art quilts after a career in clothing design.  Her quilts are organic and spontaneous, and she showed us what she is doing now in mixed media.  Her work is frequently displayed at the
 Snyderman Galleries in Philadelphia

Note to my NYC friends:  if you love art quilts, this is worth crossing the river.  The rest of you, having no  fear of crossing rivers, should make the journey as well.  The show runs through April 25.  If you can't make it, continue reading, and you'll find links to photos from the exhibit, and Carol's lecture.  Of course, as you already know, a picture of a quilt can only take you so far.  The show was reviewed by the NYT. 

The museum has a breathtaking glass collection, and an inspiring exhibit of architectural photographs, just  a few feet from the quilts.  There is also a fun exhibit, Snoopy Soars with NASA.  To Ron's chagrin, complete with eye-rolling,  I made myself child size and stuck my head in the space suit. We both enjoyed the exhibit, despite Ron's initial protest that the date "would be fun for one of us."  The museum is free on Thursday evenings, and open until 8 PM on that night.

The photo album for the  Art Quilts exhibit is here.
The photo album from Carol Schepps' lecture is here.

1 comment:

Rayna said...

I plan to go on April 21, after I get back from Canada. I've seen a lot of Jack's quilts but there are some here he has acquired since I last saw his collection.

I love the picture of Aleeda-the-Space Cadet!
Made me smile - nice way to start my Saturday.