Well, Deb had so much fun curating a dream collection of 12″ sq. art quilts for SAQA’s Benefit Auction (the online auction starts September 10, 2012), that I just had to try it, too. Where to start? I could have just stayed on the first auction page and created a dream collection from there, but then I knew there were lots of great quilt on every page. My eyes first fell upon Mary Pal’s “Sizing Up.”
Sizing Up by Mary Pal
This isn’t a portrait of Ernest Hemingway, but that’s who I saw. Immediately. He stared at me with his “Old Man and the Sea” eyes, but something else caught my attention. The red background. For me, red is elemental, sensual, and feminine, the last two qualities not ones I would necessarily associate with Hemingway. In fact, I never liked him as a writer, so why did this piece intrigue me so much? Perhaps it is this juxtaposition of the feminine and the masculine that speaks to me. Of course, I also can’t stop marveling at Mary Pal‘s technique – just amazing what one can do with cheesecloth. Let me rephrase – what Mary Pal can do with cheesecloth!
Once I selected “Sizing Up,” I started looking for red pieces that would converse with this piece, so to speak. It wasn’t as easy as you would think. Take these next two wonderful pieces, for example:
Sunspots by Susan Engler
A Chair . . . by Mary McBride
Susan Engler‘s “Sunspots” is simply wonderful, but it was too light placed next to “Sizing Up.” The same thing happened with Mary McBride‘s “A Chair is a Chair is a Chair.” This is when I started to be grateful that I could try and buy any piece, regardless of what my dream collection turned out to be because these two looked so good next to each other! Yep, I thought of ditching Mary’s piece and starting afresh, but I could never tear myself away from those eyes!
After further “auditions,” I finally came up with my dream collection. Here it is:
When Seeing Red is Really Cool
Top row: Jennifer Day, Diane Nuñez, Sue Dennis
Bottom row: Catherine Timm, Mary Pal, Kathy Loomis
Jennifer Day‘s “Pomegranate” – well, don’t get me started on the pomegranate as a medieval symbol of fertility, but I just had to include this in the collection. It also reminded me of the theme of virility in many of Hemingway’s work.
Diane Núñez‘s “Bending the Rules” – I liked the curve on this piece . . . and it was red. I’ve always been impressed with Diane’s work. She’s been bending the traditional quilt rules for a quite a while now. It was the work of artists like Diane that encouraged SAQA to refine its definition of the art quilt.
Sue Dennis‘ “Leaf” – primal. The fossilized leaf floating in the molten lava. It doesn’t get more elemental than that.
Catherine Timm‘s “Red” – the black lines kept making me wonder where they were going, kept drawing me to another point in the piece. I was curious to see if Catherine did more “redwork.” Go to her website and look at “Guggenheim in Red” (2009). Simply stunning.
Mary Pal‘s “Sizing Up” – it’s the wizened faces in Mary’s work that is so compelling. You end up standing in front of one of her pieces trying to hear the story of that person’s life. What do they have to tell us? My Ernest (because it’s not really a portrait of Ernest Hemingway) is telling me that he went out and sought life. And maybe it was a hard life, but he sought it. Okay, maybe the real Ernest drank his way through it, too. I don’t think I’ll ever like Hemingway’s writing, but at least we’ll have mojitos in common.
Kathleen Loomis‘ “Gridlock 2” – Kathleen had me at pink. I was mesmerized by the pink shooting through the red. For some reason, I don’t think Ernest would have been much impressed with this one, which makes me like it even more. Take a look at Kathleen’s “Fine Lines” gallery on her website. Like “Gridlock 2,” the pieces here all exhibit unique intersecting lines and the tension built around those intersections – just like when people and societies intersect. Sometimes the tensions are less, sometimes more, but the intersections are always fascinating.