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Exhibit: Altered Shapes
a juried exhibition of fabric art from across western Canada featuring members of the Fibre Art Network.
Winnipeg will be the centre of the quilting universe in Canada this year with the Quilt Canada conference being held at the University of Manitoba in May and an international quilt exhibition happening at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Many other events, workshops, seminars, etc… will be taking place around the city, especially concentrated around the time of the conference, May 17 – 22, 2004.
A few years back I was contacted by someone asking if the MHCGallery would be interested in hosting a Fibre Art Network (FAN) juried exhibition during the Quilt Canada conference. I was not sure what FAN was. I was told it is a cooperative of fabric artists from across western and northern Canada promoting quilting as an art form. I was intrigued but suggested I’d prefer that a longer time period than just during the conference would be best for us. A good partnership was born.
A call was put out to FAN members for submissions. Less than three weeks before the submission deadline I had to travel to the Netherlands. The day I left I checked for the number of submissions. Two.
I was slightly nervous but my knowledge — here I generalize and stereotype but I think safely — of quilters and fabric artists has always led me to believe they are an extremely dedicated, organized and efficient lot. No one, I felt, would need reminding. But the pessimist in me wanted to be worried as I boarded my flight for Toronto and on to Amsterdam.
I returned a couple of days before the deadline to a mountain of submissions. Of course there had been no need to worry. Ruth Maendel and I sat down to scale the mountain. Unfortunately, as is always the case in juried shows, artworks needed to be trimmed. Ruth, perhaps the most optimistically creative person I know, led the way and an excellent, vibrant exhibition of 58 works emerged. Viewers will be wowed by the talent, imagination and energy in the selected works.
Some people who work with fabric, namely many of those who quilt, prefer not to be called artists. The contributors to Altered Shapes, working from a quilting base, are very deliberately artists. They set out to push and break boundaries, some follow rules, others do not. There is freedom while still paying homage to the great traditions in quilting. If you want to see quilts following existing patterns and all the rules this is not the show for you. If you wish to see inspirational creativity that respects but often busts the rules of traditional quilting this is the show for you.
It has been a delight to work with the artists of FAN, in particular Manitoba members Sandi Howell and Judy Morningstar and, earlier, Carol Galloway.
- Ray Dirks, MHCGallery
For more information or to purchase artworks contact:
Ray Dirks, MHCGallery, 600 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB Canada R3P 0M4; ph. (204) 888-6781, fax (204) 831-5675; firstname.lastname@example.org