Every Quilt Tells a Story at the Middlebury College Museum of Art
MIDDLEBURY, VT. – From January 9 through June 3, the Middlebury College Museum of Art will present the exhibition “Story Quilts: .”
Traditionally, story quilts focus on the themes of domestic life and family histories, biblical sagas and historic events. More recently, artists have embraced the story quilt format to reestablish a link with history, express personal views and concerns or recount feminist narratives. It features story quilts by two contemporary African-American artists, Peggie L. Hartwell and Faith Ringgold, as well as two historic narrative quilts from the Shelburne Museum.
The exhibition opens with two Nineteenth Century quilts. An 1876 appliquéd and pieced quilt includes two blocks celebrating the Centennial Exposition held in Philadelphia in addition to scenes of home life and biblical sagas. A pieced quilt, figurative mosaic pattern, circa 1880-1920, features two African-American figures. As was common at the time, the design probably evolved from a popular cross-stitch manual. The works are on loan from Shelburne.
The exhibition features three recent quilts by Peggie L. Hartwell, a member of the Women of Color Quilting Network, including “Ode to Harriet Powers,” 1995, that pays tribute to a celebrated Nineteenth Century quilter. Six vignettes recall Powers’ favorite themes, including the crucifixion of Christ, Moses healing the children and Jonah and the whale.
Three important story quilts by Faith Ringgold, the celebrated artist and best-selling author of children’s books, are also included. “Tar Beach 2,” 1990, recounts the allegorical adventures of young Cassie Louise Lightfoot, one of Ringgold’s alter egos, in 1930s Harlem. After a family picnic on the roof of a brownstone – the tar beach – Cassie dreams she can fly around the city.
Artist Peggie L. Hartwell will present a gallery talk about story quilts on Sunday, March 11, at 2 pm in the museum.
The museum is on South Main Street (Route 30). Admission is free and hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 am-5 pm, and weekends, noon-5 pm. For information, 802/443-5252.