Michael James
Home Economics, 2005
Artist-rendered digitally printed cotton and dyed cotton thread
126 3/4 x 54 5/8 x 1 4/10 inches
Racine Art Museum, Gift of the Artist and Judith James in Memory of Claire C. James
Photography: Jon Bolton, Racine

In Stitches: Contemporary Approaches to Needlework

September 23, 2020 – February 13, 2021

For some, needlework and other fiber-related techniques are pastimes, while for others, they are used for professions. For still more, these practices are employed to depict ideas. The contemporary artists whose works are included in this exhibition prioritize these processes and use handcraft techniques like embroidery, sewing, crocheting, and quilting to explore a wide range of subjects. They investigate labor, gender, memory, and history, and popular culture as well as personal or social issues.

Primarily drawn from RAM’s collection, the works featured in this exhibition demonstrate contemporary methods of working with materials such as fabric, thread, yarn, and embroidery floss through the use of needles, hooks, or hands. Works on loan from Milwaukee area artists Sharon Kerry-Harlan and Rosemary Ollison expand this conversation even further. Incorporating African influences, Kerry-Harlan uses textiles, as well as other media, to explore the potential metaphors and meanings of the human face and figure. Ollison collects glass, leather, bracelets, beads, bones, and jewelry that she then incorporates into all manner of works, including quilts.

Diverse examples shown next to one another offer opportunities for comparison and contrast. Large-scale quilts using found linens are shown alongside small-scale photo-realistic embroideries, crocheted earrings, and stitched baskets. In whatever form, these works reflect how handcraft traditions can be incorporated—and expanded upon—to make creative, aesthetic, thoughtful, symbolic and practical statements.

ARTISTS IN THE EXHIBITION
James Acord, Jackie Abrams, Renie Breskin Adams, Mary Beth Baloga, Diane Banks, Linda Behar, Mary Bero, Michael Brennand-Wood, Sally Broadwell, Joyce Marquess Carey, Marcia Docter, Theodora Elston, Arline Fisch, Teri Greeves, Janet Haigh, David R. Harper, Marilyn Henrion, Cindy Hickok, Jan Hopkins, Diane Itter, Michael James, Cherry Barr Jerry, Rosita Johanson, Sharon Kerry-Harlan, Kay Khan, Ai Kijima, Anne Kingsbury, Lilla Kulka, Amy Lipshie, Dona Look, Tom Lundberg, Patricia Malarcher, Therese May, Norma Minkowitz, Ellen Moon, Diana Mott-Thornton, Charlene Nemec-Kessel, Mark Newport, Rosemary Ollison, Judith H. Perry, Lily Poran, Andrzej Rajch, Tom Rauschke, Gretchen Romey-Tanzer, Joan Schulze, Susan Shie, Carol Shinn, Barbara Lee Smith, Blanka Sperková, Missy Stevens, Barbara Stutman, Feileke van der Leest, Carol Warner, Katherine Westphal, Kaaren Wiken, Anne Wilson, and Claire Zeisler

In Stitches: Contemporary Approaches to Needlework

September 23, 2020 – February 13, 2021
Michael James
Home Economics, 2005
Artist-rendered digitally printed cotton and dyed cotton thread
126 3/4 x 54 5/8 x 1 4/10 inches
Racine Art Museum, Gift of the Artist and Judith James in Memory of Claire C. James
Photography: Jon Bolton, Racine

For some, needlework and other fiber-related techniques are pastimes, while for others, they are used for professions. For still more, these practices are employed to depict ideas. The contemporary artists whose works are included in this exhibition prioritize these processes and use handcraft techniques like embroidery, sewing, crocheting, and quilting to explore a wide range of subjects. They investigate labor, gender, memory, and history, and popular culture as well as personal or social issues.

Primarily drawn from RAM’s collection, the works featured in this exhibition demonstrate contemporary methods of working with materials such as fabric, thread, yarn, and embroidery floss through the use of needles, hooks, or hands. Works on loan from Milwaukee area artists Sharon Kerry-Harlan and Rosemary Ollison expand this conversation even further. Incorporating African influences, Kerry-Harlan uses textiles, as well as other media, to explore the potential metaphors and meanings of the human face and figure. Ollison collects glass, leather, bracelets, beads, bones, and jewelry that she then incorporates into all manner of works, including quilts.

Diverse examples shown next to one another offer opportunities for comparison and contrast. Large-scale quilts using found linens are shown alongside small-scale photo-realistic embroideries, crocheted earrings, and stitched baskets. In whatever form, these works reflect how handcraft traditions can be incorporated—and expanded upon—to make creative, aesthetic, thoughtful, symbolic and practical statements.

Gallery of Work

ARTISTS IN THE EXHIBITION
James Acord, Jackie Abrams, Renie Breskin Adams, Mary Beth Baloga, Diane Banks, Linda Behar, Mary Bero, Michael Brennand-Wood, Sally Broadwell, Joyce Marquess Carey, Marcia Docter, Theodora Elston, Arline Fisch, Teri Greeves, Janet Haigh, David R. Harper, Marilyn Henrion, Cindy Hickok, Jan Hopkins, Diane Itter, Michael James, Cherry Barr Jerry, Rosita Johanson, Sharon Kerry-Harlan, Kay Khan, Ai Kijima, Anne Kingsbury, Lilla Kulka, Amy Lipshie, Dona Look, Tom Lundberg, Patricia Malarcher, Therese May, Norma Minkowitz, Ellen Moon, Diana Mott-Thornton, Charlene Nemec-Kessel, Mark Newport, Rosemary Ollison, Judith H. Perry, Lily Poran, Andrzej Rajch, Tom Rauschke, Gretchen Romey-Tanzer, Joan Schulze, Susan Shie, Carol Shinn, Barbara Lee Smith, Blanka Sperková, Missy Stevens, Barbara Stutman, Feileke van der Leest, Carol Warner, Katherine Westphal, Kaaren Wiken, Anne Wilson, and Claire Zeisler

Exhibitions at RAM are made possible by:

Platinum Sponsors
Anonymous
Nicholas and Nancy Kurten
Osborne and Scekic Family Foundation
Windgate Foundation
Wisconsin Department of Administration

Diamond Sponsors
National Endowment for the Arts
Ruffo Family Foundation

Gold Sponsors
Anonymous
David Charak
Tom and Irene Creecy
David Flegel
Silver Sponsors
A. C. Buhler Family
Andis Foundation
Lucy G. Feller
Dorothy MacVicar
Bronze Sponsors
Andis Company
Tom and Jane Devine
David and Ellen Easley
Educators Credit Union
Ben and Dawn Flegel
Fredrick and Deborah Ganaway
William A. Guenther
Tom and Sharon Harty
Andrea and Tony Hauser
Angela Jacobi
Bill Keland
Knight Barry Title Group
Eric Koopmeiners and Lena Vigna

Media Sponsors

Wisconsin Public Radio

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