23 November 2014

An imaginary map quilt

Blue Collar City by Sally Dutko (via)
"Yes!" was my response on seeing this photo in Kathy Loomis's review of the map quilts in Quilts=Art=Quilts. In fact she's reviewed all of the categories of quilts in the show - abstract, representational, etc, and with considerable insight ... she was a juror for the show ...

So, why does this piece hit all the buttons for me?
- The title: it does what it says on the box - with tongue in cheek.
- The aesthetics: composition, materials, colours.
- Thrift: clever reuse of materials.
- Inventiveness: I find myself mentally sidling up to the artist's moment of seeing-the-connection, vicariously enjoying the moment when the pieces fall into place, the way is clear...
- Verve: everything is confidently placed, without fuss or fiddling.

The size is 52"x36" - it would have been easy to make this quilt, this map, too big or too small, but it's in balance with the size of its components.

And ... it almost looks like a real city, without the viewer having to fuss about details. You don't get lost in looking for familiar streets; you can stand back and think about what "blue collar" means in the life of a city, in the death of a city, in the lives of its inhabitants. Imaginary map, imaginary city it may be, art work it is ... and it's what the viewer brings to the work that completes it as art. For someone outside the industrial life a a city, "seeing" this "map" is totally a feat of the imagination, but none the less real for that.

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