Piece Work: Resistance and Healing in Contemporary Textile Art at the Fruitlands Museum
The Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Mass., Announced Piece work: resistance and healing in contemporary textiles Art, opening April 24, 2021. This group exhibition features the work of four contemporary artists – Gina Adams, Alicia Henry, Andrew Mowbray and Leslie Schomp – who work with textiles and stitching to share inventive and aesthetic approaches to critique and reconcile the difficult aspects of American History.
Showcased in the museum’s main galleries and through site-specific interventions in historic Fruitlands buildings, Piecework will be the museum’s first major contemporary art exhibition and will champion the role of fiber arts in art discourse. contemporary as an innovative medium that can criticize and restore society in equal measure.
“The work of pieces marks a major change in our exhibition program,” notes curator Shana Dumont Garr. “It is a focus on contemporary art where each artist is eloquently anchored in history. I see each artist in the exhibition finding a way with their art to take what is useful from the past and advance that wisdom, while innovating for the future.
Each artist has been selected to critically engage with the historic spaces and collections of Fruitlands in order to reinforce a sense of context with the museum. Gina Adams (Ojibwe-Lakota, Irish-Lithuanian), uses archives of Indigenous history to create quilts and carvings, highlighting the words of broken treaties between settlers and Indigenous peoples. Alicia Henri, a black artist, creates overlapping and figurative wall hangings of black subjects from cotton, leather, felt, linen and burlap that are hand-sewn and embroidered. Andrew Mowbray cites examples of corporate collaboration with his quilts made of industrial Tyvek Home Wrap insulation, in which he modifies the logo to form dynamic patterns. Ultimately, Leslie Schomp raises the question of what generations might owe regarding climate change with a hand-sewn sampler placing quotes from Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane from 1843 in dialogue with David Wallace-Wells, author of The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Global Warming (2019).
Trustee members get exclusive first access to the exhibit with a member-only preview weekend from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on April 24-25. To reserve your free pass, please visit thetrustees.org/program/member-preview.
During the exhibition, Gina Adams will offer the public an open program of letter cutting. She will also collaborate with artist Gregg Deal (Pyramid Lake Paiute) in a public performance adapted to the site.
In addition to artist lectures, the Fruitlands Museum will be offering a spring series of “Learning Fiber Arts” virtual demonstrations on Wednesday evenings in May and June. Demonstrations will include: traditional Shaker quilt blocks, historic embroidery primer, needle-felt toys, and materials unusual in the fiber arts. Students of the virtual sessions will also receive lists of recommended materials, a written tutorial, and a session recording to work on their skills after the demo session. This summer, an additional series of workshops will be presented in person at the Fruitlands Museum.
Meaghan Flaherty Lawton
About the Reservations Trustees | Museum of fruit lands
Fruitlands Museum, owned by the trustees since 2016, is a historic, natural and cultural destination in Harvard, MA. Founded in 1914 by author and curator Clara Endicott Sears, the museum takes its name from an experimental utopian community that existed on this site in 1843 and was run by transcendentalists Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane. Fruitlands is dedicated to New England history, art, and nature, and its collections include: The Fruitlands Farmhouse, The Shaker Gallery, The Native American Gallery, and The Art Gallery. It sits on 210 acres of land with panoramic views of the Nashua River Valley including 2.5 miles of grassland and wooded recreational trails.