KIALaunches 2017-18 Season with Circular Abstractions: Bull's Eye Quilts

Posted: August 10, 2017

2017 cabeq rotator

Pamela Loewen, Junglescape. 100% cottons, hand-dyed by artist, machine pieced and quilted by artist. Roxanna Kantarjian, Carnival, 100% commercial cottons, machine pieced and hand appliqued by artist, machine quilted.

Fiber exhibition includes work by artists from around the world exploring a single theme

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts (KIA) will open Circular Abstractions: Bull's Eye Quilts on Saturday, September 23. The 26 quilts on view have been conceived in response to a challenge by quilter and curator Nancy Crow, who invited artists to create work based on the "bulll's eye" pattern: concentric rings set in a grid of four quadrants. Artists from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and the U.S. responded to the invitation, deconstructing and re-assembling the bull's eye into new compositions.

"The exhibition is a celebration of design and skill," says Karla Niehus, Interim Curator of Exhibitions & Collections at the KIA. "These pieces not only express each artist's vision, but push the boundaries of their medium and demonstrate a mastery of their craft, speaking through the fundamental tools of pattern, color, design, composition, rhythm, value, and movement."

Viewers will see that some artists offer circles that vary from rigidly geometric to wildly organic; others have circles breaking boundaries, shifting in scale, or even dominating the entire piece. Viewers are invited to experience the myriad possibilities of color and shape, and to evaluate the success of each artist in transforming a bull's eye into something more.

Nancy Crow has been making quilts for 40 years, and has had solo exhibitions in Washington, DC, New York City, and internationally. She has taught quiltmaking all over the world, has written several quilting books, and is featured in a Snyderman-Works Gallery exhibition catalog titled Crossroads: Constructions, Markings, and Structures.

"The inherent physicality of these pieces, their material and craft, enriches not just the pictorial design, but the conceptual content as well," says Crow. "The act of building a quilt is a perfect expression of reconstructing a given form into something new. Just as the artist is breaking apart and re-assembling the components of a bull's eye, so too is the face of the quilt being constructed by piecing together smaller fragments of fabric into a single new design."

This exhibition is organized by the Muskegon Museum of Art with Curator Nancy Crow, and is sponsored in Kalamazoo by Friendship Village. The exhibition continues through January 21, 2018, on view in two of the museum's main-level galleries.


An exhibition celebration for is set for Friday, October 8, 5-8 pm, as part of downtown Kalamazoo's October Art Hop and the museum's annual "Everyone's A Member Day." Admission is free.

Art Martin, Director of Collections & Exhibitions/Senior Curator at the Muskegon Museum of Art, will speak about the exhibition on Wednesday, October 11, 6:30 pm, in the Kalamazoo Art League's first lecture of the 2017-18 season. Admission is $12.

Master quiltmaker and exhibition curator Nancy Crow will talk about the exhibition and her years in quiltmaking on Thursday, November 2, 6:30 pm, at the KIA. Included with $5 museum admission.

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About the curator
Nancy Crow has been making quilts for 40 years, and maintains a studio and teaching facility on a 100-acre farm east of Columbus, Ohio. She has had solo exhibitions at the Renwick Gallery, Washington, DC; the Museum of Arts & Design in New York City; the Cultural Arts Museum, Konstanz, Germany; the Auckland Art Museum and the Hawke's Bay Exhibition Centre, New Zealand; The International Quilt Study Center & Museum at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln; and Carnegie Mellon University's Regina Miller Gouger Galleries, Pittsburgh, PA. She has taught quiltmaking in Finland, Denmark, Belgium, Ireland, Austria, England, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, and South Africa, and is featured in two recent books: Nancy Crow, and a Snyderman-Works Gallery exhibition catalog titled Crossroads: Constructions, Markings, and Structures. She has authored several quilting books.

About the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts believes the visual arts are for everyone, and that they inspire, transform, and fulfill. Since 1924, the KIA, a private non-profit organization, has presented opportunities to the community and visitors from around the world to enjoy and create art. The KIA holds more than 4,700 fine artworks in its permanent collection; presents touring and collection exhibitions in 10 galleries; offers four terms of art classes at the Kirk Newman Art School; and houses a Gallery Shop featuring artwork by area artists.