Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Reprise and Repetition

While I haven't been actively quilting I have been thinking about quilts and art and how ideas, scenes, colors, and designs are reworked by artists and changing technology.

In Chicago I photographed this painting of the Italian Riviera by Claude Monet because it reminded me of something I'd seen.

Bordighera by Claude Monet, 1884. Italian Riviera

Eventually I remembered my photo from Coit Tower in San Francisco. Both feature views of saltwater though Monet's has a town in the mid-ground while mine has the bridge. Similar greenery surrounds both on all sides. I like the way nature takes the foreground and background, adds the detail, and keeps drawing my eyes from the man-made objects.  Putting the darkest objects in front brings needed cool shade to a hot summer day.

The Bay Bridge from Coit Tower, San Francisco

The Art Institute of Chicago staged Music and Movement: Rhythm in Textile Design. It was only four small rooms but covered the world and the ages. The ones I've thought about most though are all from the 1970's.

Music and Movement exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago

At least half the textiles were dress and upholstery fabrics including Gallop, a stunning knit by Hans Krondahl from 1972 which ignited memories of Eedweard Muybridge's photography.

Gallop (screen print dress fabric of knit nylon)
by Hans Krondahl for Katja of Sweden, 1972. 
Leland Stanford, one of California's governors and later founder of Stanford University, hired him to prove whether or not all a horse's feet left the ground when galloping. Horse in Motion resolved that question.

Horse in Motion by Eadweard Muybridge, 1878.

The zoetrope projects circular paper strips of still photos that appear to move when the device spins. Muybridge made improvements he called the zoopraxiscope in 1879. As such he is considered the founder of the motion picture industry. 

The Cantor Center in Palo Alto exhibits one of these machines as well as a viewing of a moving photo series.

Zoopraxiscope by Eadweard Muybridge, Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University

The fabric also nods to the Carousel Bar at the Fairmont with its murals of performing horses and in fact, any scene with racehorses - from the Kentucky Derby to Ben Hur.

Murals at the Carousel Bar, Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco

Robert Brady's 1974 tapestry of Josephine Baker was prominently displayed.  An American vaudeville dancer, Baker famously performed her Danse Savage in 1925 Paris dressed only in a skirt of artificial bananas. She became a successful artist, worked for the French Resistance, and insisted on desegregated audiences for her shows when she toured the US.

Baker and Brady were close friends for years. He finally established a home in Cuernavaca, decorating it with the lavish colors of his adopted country and artwork created by himself and his friends. Now the Museo Robert Brady, it includes a statuette of Baker in her iconic costume.

Wool and cotton Josephine Baker tapestry by Robert Brady, 1974.

The Baker tapestry reminded me of The TVA Quilt I'd seen years ago; fortunately I found this image through the internet. In 1934 Ruth Bond and Rose Cooper headed a club that made the quilt they named Uncle Sam's Helping Hand to "honor the part black people were playing to transform the South." It is still on display at TVA building in Knoxville.

Uncle Sam’s Helping Hand quilt designed
by Ruth Clement Bond and quilted by Rose Lee Cooper, 1934

For Bessie's Blues Faith Ringold, a well-known author and quilter, repeated images of blues singer Bessie Smith in a layout that references both traditional quilts and Andy Warhol's pop imagery. The colors also repeat those of the Baker tapestry.

Bessie's Blues by Faith Ringgold, 1997

My initial impression was cyanoprint but it's actually acrylic paint.

I like the subtle variations of blue that help the blocks retain their edges, the color scheme, and the repeats with variation. Oh, those borders fabrics mixing curves from oversized florals with simple rectangles. And then finding another soft background floral so the rest of the work floats on top.

Enjoy the day, Ann

20 comments:

  1. Marvelous and very thoughtful post.

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    1. Thanks, Julie. I'm glad you enjoyed my stream of consciousness.

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  2. Love seeing through your eyes!

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    1. Thanks, Sue. I wasn't sure anyone would be interested but wanted to get these impressions written down.

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  3. awesome post! very thought provoking. And any discussion of art is a good discussion. as to the first photo, it reminds me of lunch in Luguna Beach at the top of a cliff looking down into the little harbor with sail boats. It was a moment etched in my visual memory.
    the curved tufted benches are so inviting. I want to try making a stark background with image in front now... brains is thinking... no place to work at the moment but how intriguing.
    the last pic, is interesting to me with the two final borders. Contrast in line but similar in tone and value, nonetheless it reads as two distinct borders. what an education! LeeAnna

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    1. LeeAnna, you're the one person I thought would be interested in the post although I'm sure you'd express things much better than I. How fascinating that you have a similar view in a different place. It intrigued me to notice so much nature in the foreground with all the man-made things in mid-ground. Like a lady behind a mantilla. As you said, we both need to work on this.
      And yes, you stated the double border relationship better than I. Similar scale and color but definitely two borders. Faith is a talented artist in several arenas.

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  4. I love to go to art museums. This post was great armchair visiting. Thank you!

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    1. What a lovely thing to write, Angie. I'm glad you enjoyed the armchair visit.

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  5. So much inspiration! Galloping horses and dancers.
    Life is rich with it!
    Thanks for sharing your photos.

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    1. I found the exhibit almost by accident off the antiquities. Funny that. And then it covered so much ground. They had many connections in their explanations but of course, I made more from my own memories. Thanks for writing, Janie.

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  6. I tend to take things at face value. I don't really analyze what I see to peel away it's shell. It was interesting looking at these things through your eyes.

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    1. I don't always analyze it at the time, even though I try. All this traveling is good for thinking. I'm glad you enjoyed the post, Robin.

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  7. I definitely think you have an artists mind! Great read today.:)

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    1. You're too kind, Audrey. I'm not sure about that artist's mind. Definitely a scientific mind. I'm glad you enjoyed the post, Audrey.

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  8. Lots to read about here Ann, I always enjoy reading your posts when you're travelling and visiting exhibitions.
    I have to say that I'm probably more of a traditionalist when it comes to art, the painting by Monet is just my thing, no wonder I have four books covering his life, work and his garden. I do hope you can get back into your quilting soon.

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    1. It makes sense you'd like Monet, Maureen, with your gardening ability. Have you seen those gardens in person? I hope to visit some day. I'm glad you're quilting and hope to finish some of the things left on the wall soon. Thanks for writing.

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  9. The great thing about photos is that we can analyse art sitting at home. When I see stuff in person I tend to respond in a spontaneous, emotional way, but with more time its possible to work out what's behind that initial reaction. You have shared some lovely and thought-provoking pieces.

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    1. Viewing at a show is very different from analyzing later. If I hadn't been driving so much I wouldn't have figured all this out. I'm glad you enjoyed this post, Kaja.

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  10. It was Interesting and fun to read about the connections you made between pieces of art, from what you saw in the exhibit to works that you remembered. I think that's such a great outcome of looking at and learning about a wide variety of artwork. And thanks for including the link with the TVA quilt. It sent me off to learn a bit more about that important government program and its impact on the people of the area. A good reminder of the positive impact of a federal initiative. This one went well beyond its primary mission of supplying electricity.

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    1. Many of our government programs lifted the opportunities and outlooks of our citizens. Having read histories of the regions flooded, it's good to remember the resultant benefits, too.
      Thanks for writing, Mary.

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I enjoy reading your comments and usually reply here where everyone can read and join in. We have some great conversations.