Sunday, January 23, 2011

Review: Opening of “Identity in Fiber” – A Night of Great Food, Music and Fiber Art

Last night was the Opening Reception for “Identity in Fiber” at the Windsor Art Center (WAC) in Windsor, CT. 

Kate Themel, curator of the exhibition, reports:Identity-SmithandWarner

What a night!  I’m always nervous before an opening; will anyone show up?  what will people’s  reaction be?  will we get another blizzard??? 

But last night was just about perfect.  WAC did a great job promoting the show and the opening was well attended.  Lily’s Soul Food Restaurant provided some of the food – delicious homemade Mac & cheese was a big hit.  And jazz music by the Trey Winston Trio, a group of young local musicians, played for about an hour.  They were amazing!

(Image right: Cathy Smith and Betty Warner have a lively conversation in front of Barbara McKie’s  “My LAST Birthday”. Photo by Diane Wright)


(Image left: Rita Hannifin stands next to Sally Brown’s quilted art book “Forever Sisters”.  Photo by Catherine Smith)

The artwork looked beautiful and was hung with great care by the WAC hanging team.  I must send a BIG thank you to Diane Wright who has been so helpful and supportive throughout the planning, and who collected artwork and brought it to WAC.  Diane and her husband worked all day along with Holly and myself, arranging the quilts.  This exhibition contained such a variety of color, technique and scale – it was not an easy job making sense of it all!  Thank you also to Karen Loprete and Betty Warner for collecting artwork and delivering it to Windsor.

WINSDOR ART CENTER - SAQA 001 (2)(Image, right: Diane & Dave are pictured here in front of Diane’s kimono-shaped art quilt “Family Ties” and Karen Loprete’s “My Secret Garden”. Photo by Catherine Smith)

Several of the “Identity” artists attended the Opening, including Carol Vinick, Sally Brown, Lisa Chipetine, Diane Wright and myself.  Diane and Lisa commented that visitors asked them very thoughtful questions about the work, beyond the typical small talk. 

Viewers commented on the quality of design and variety of techniques on display.  Karen Loprete’s My Secret Garden and Vivika DeNegre’s I’m Sorry had people marveling at the hand embroidery and combination of materials.  Some viewers were emotionally struck by Carol Vinick’s Tikun (see image, lower right).  A fragile silver pendant of the Star of David hangs from the quilt, in contrast to Tikun’s stark imagery and twisted metal wire.   Several visitors plan to come back another day to get a second look at everything.  According to Windsor Art Center Director Ina Foreman “We always get a big response when we have a fiber or textile show.  It really draws people in”.CarolVinick_Tikun_full

SAQA members Rita Hannifin, former SAQA-CT Rep Susan Ferraro, Catherine Whall Smith, Phyllis Small and Betty Warner came to support the artists, catch up with friends and of course see the fabulous artwork.  

Local quilters and art enthusiasts filled the crowd.  Diane and I had a wonderful conversation with Ann Chuk.  For the past 10 years Ann has been the tireless organizer of “Artists in the Country”, a professionally juried show of local and regional artists displaying their wares in a beautiful rural setting in Woodstock. 

DSCN2653Former SAQA President and media guru Lisa Chipetine filmed the event live and created a podcast.  Click on this link to view the video:

(Image: From left to right, Vivika DeNegre’s “I’m Sorry”, Lisa Chipetine’s “Flowers for Allah” and Debbie Bento’s “Life’s Path”. Photo by Kate Themel) 

All in all it was a fantastic night.  Of course I went home kicking myself for all the things I forgot to say in my welcoming remarks.  Oh well, that will teach me to write things down!  

As I met & talked to people I was sure to remind them to come back on Saturday, February 12th for the SAQA Regional Meeting and Gallery Talk, to find out more about the pieces in the show and the artists who made them.

The Identity in Fiber Exhibition will be on display at Windsor Art Center until March 5, 2011

Windsor Art Center

40 Mechanic Street

Windsor, CT 06095

(860) 688-2528

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