For most of the last decade Carol Padberg has been exploring encoded abstraction through painting, installation, and collage. Two years ago this interest led her to the great textile traditions of West Africa, where fabrics often have elaborate patterns and symbols that refer to proverbs and historical events.
Padberg synthesizes the influences of African textiles, American crazy quilts, and European modernism with her own family background of sewing, to produce information age art which stands at the intersection of quilting and computer code.
In this exhibition Padberg builds her quilts using a high capacity bar code structure layered with colored papers, scraps of fabric and paint, such that with a click of a smart phone, the viewer is transported down what Padberg calls a “rabbit hole” providing a window into the making of the art and the symbolism encoded within.
Each work investigates ways in which technology has shaped our contemporary world. For example, in Love the Eats (image, upper left) we are linked to images and texts that explore modern food production and consumption. Themes include pesticides commonly applied to apples; the Slow Food movement; and the trials and tribulations of feeding a large family.
New Britain Museum of American Art
56 Lexington Street
New Britain, CT 06052