I am very pleased to announce a quilt exhibit entitled “New Quilts From Old Favorites” is currently hanging at the Wisconsin Historical Museum on the Capitol Square in Madison, WI. These quilts are innovative interpretations of a number of traditional blocks. Some of the quilts were made in collaboration with my dear friends Sharon Rotz and Wendy Rieves and others are my own. Samples of the traditional pattern of each are also included in the display.
Welcoming the Son Into Our Garden by Wendy Rieves and Chris Lynn Kirsch
Tumbles the Cat by Sharon Rotz and Chris Lynn Kirsch
This wonderful opportunity came to be because my friend Evelyn Link’s daughter, Gwendolyn Rice, is having the premiere of her play “A Thousand Words” preformed by the Forward Theater Company in Madison. She had the idea of involving a variety of artists in a number of unique exhibits to coincide with the play’s grand opening. I have also been invited to do a lecture at the museum on January 14th. I’m so grateful to have Gwen include me in this exciting collaboration and am including the press release so you can read all about it!
The Art of A Thousand Words –Photos and Fiber Art Inspired by Forward Theater’s World Premiere Play
Madison, WI — Forward Theater Company has partnered with artists throughout Dane County to present a series of art exhibits complementing the world premiere of the play A Thousand Words, by local playwright Gwendolyn Rice. The play, which will be presented in Promenade Hall at the Overture Center, January 19 – February 5, 2012, focuses on many types of art – from the stunning black and white photography of Walker Evans, to crude patchwork quilts from Kansas. It also poignantly explores the relationship between art and commerce, the power of photography, the role of museums in marketing and discovering artists, and the search for authenticity on both personal and artistic levels.
To engage in a broader conversation around these themes, FTC, in close collaboration with David Wells and the Terry Family Foundation, assembled several mixed media exhibits created by local artists, including professional photographers and quilters, and members of the Center for Photography in Madison, the Mad City Quilt Guild, and the Madison Contemporary Fiber Artists.
Author Gwendolyn Rice originally conceived the play A Thousand Words after reading a small article in the newspaper about the discovery of photos in a Key West, Florida, bar. The owner had stumbled upon a treasure trove of books, fishing gear, and personal effects from one of the bar’s most famous patrons – Ernest Hemingway. Among these items were a collection of black and white photos taken by Walker Evans. Rice stated, “This story fascinated me. Unfamiliar with the photographer or his work, I started researching Evans and studying his photos. He eventually became a main character in the play.”
When the play was added to Forward Theater’s third season, the staff began to think about ways to engage additional audiences and artists through visual art. “To me, this project is all about collaboration and being inspired to create something new,” said Jennifer Uphoff Gray, artistic director for Forward Theater Company, and the director of A Thousand Words, a co-production mounted by FTC and Milwaukee Chamber Theatre. “Since the genesis of this play was a set of photographs, and evocative, compelling photos and quilts are explicitly discussed in the play, it seemed natural to involve artisans in those media. It’s been an amazing cross-pollination among artists.”
Rice concurred, saying “It’s really interesting to see how creative people in other fields interpret the images that led me to write A Thousand Words. It is my hope that the play – and the exhibits ‑ will encourage viewers to think about the nature of authenticity, the process of art creation, and the power of words and images.”
The collection of photos, quilts, embroidery, weaving, and fabric collages will be on display at several galleries in Madison, through March, 2012. In addition to these exhibits, the Wisconsin Historical Society will host two lectures complementing themes in the play, discussing antique and modern quilts. They will also display a group of original works by noted quilt artist and educator Chris Lynn Kirsch.
October 14, 2011
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art Gallery Night, Orange Cone Studios presents Nick Berard’s black and white photos, inspired by the work of Walker Evans.
October 10 – December 1, 2011
Sundance Cinemas Gallery, 430 North Midvale Blvd, in Hilldale Mall
Photos and fiber art, inspired by the work of Walker Evans. Opening reception November 10, 5:30pm – 7:30pm
December 3, 2011 – January 14, 2012
Wisconsin Historical Society,816 State Street
New Quilts from Old Favorites Exhibit – Quilts by Chris Lynn Kirsch that re-imagine traditional patterns such as Mariner’s Compass, Dresden Plate, Sunflower, and Monkey Wrench.
December 8, 2011 – January 25, 2012
UW Madison Continuing Studies Building, 21 North Park St., 7th floor. A collection of black and white photos, inspired by the work of Walker Evans.
December 10, 2011 1:00 – 2:30 pm
Wisconsin Historical Society, 816 State Street – Trends in American Quilting with Curator Leslie Bellais; Why did quilting become so popular in America when it languished inEurope? Why were there powerful national quilting trends, rather than a myriad of regional styles in the history of American quilting? These are questions Leslie Bellais, Curator of Costume & Textiles at the Wisconsin Historical Society, will address in her presentation on the history of American quilting from the 1770s to the 1970s, with an emphasis on works of the Depression era. Her talk will be illustrated with images of quilts from the Society’s collection. Suggested donation of $5 per person. Call 264-6555, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit shop.wisconsinhistory.org to reserve your space.
December 19, 2011 – March 4, 2012
Overture Gallery II, 201 State Street, 2nd floor. Photos and fiber art in the style of Walker Evans, inspired by the play A Thousand Words. Opening reception January 13, 6pm – 8pm
January 13 – March 4, 2012
Overture Hall Playhouse Gallery,201 State Street, lower level. Mini quilts by the Mad City Quilt Guild, inspired by the play and the theme “A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words.” Opening reception January 13, 6pm – 8pm
January 14, 2012 1:00 – 2:30 pm
Wisconsin Historical Society – Contemporary Takes on Classic Patterns: A Talk with Quilter Chris Lynn Kirsch
Quilter, teacher, and author Chris Lynn Kirsch will discuss her original work in the exhibit New Quilts from Old Favorites. Hear Kirsch explain how the love for historic quilting patterns inspired her creation of vibrant, artful, decidedly modern quilts. Local playwright Gwendolyn Rice will also be on-hand to discuss her play A Thousand Words, which features antique quilts and forgotten women fiber artists in its plot. Cost to attend is $10 per person. Register by Monday, January 9th. Call 264-6555, email email@example.com, or visit shop.wisconsinhistory.org to reserve your space.
A Thousand Words
For information about the play A Thousand Words, please visit forwardtheater.com. To buy tickets ($35-$37 for adults, $30-$32 for seniors 62+, and $25-$27 for students) please visit overturecenter.com or call (608) 258-4141.
A Thousand Words and the play’s complementary art exhibits are generously sponsored by the Madison Arts Commission (with funds from the Wisconsin Arts Board), Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, the John and Carolyn Peterson Charitable Foundation, Qual Line Fence, and Wegner CPAs & Consultants. Special thanks to David Wells and the Terry Family Foundation.
Forward Theater season sponsors include the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, Distillery Marketing, The Gialamas Company, Isthmus, Wisconsin Public Radio, The Madison Concourse Hotel, and the Pleasant Rowland Great Performance Fund for Theater, a component fund of the Madison Community Foundation.
About Forward Theater Company
Founded in 2009, the mission of FTC is: to create a home base for Wisconsin theater professionals that will expand the economic and cultural life of the greater Madison area.