Monday, December 10, 2012

"Color Improvisation" and Nancy Crow's Self-Portraits opened in Neumünster

My trip to Neumünster was strenuous and not without delays, but I won’t go into that. The textile museum Tuch + Technik  is a wonderful presentation of the history and development of spinning, weaving, in combination with the local history of Neumünster, which was once called the “Sheffield of Schleswig-Holstein”. And it is a wonderful venue for the many large quilts of “Color Improvisation”.

View over the museum hall when entering

Two of Marina Kamenskaya's four quilts

Randa Stewens, Uta Lenk,
and Kathy Loomis in the background

Bonnie Bucknam

Nancy Cordry, and Leslie Riley in the background

Uta Lenk, Jayne Willoughby Scott,
and Cathy Shanahan in the background

Some of the quilts are hung on a system that makes it possible for the viewers to take closer looks at the back sides. Which definitely give very interesting sights with some of the quilts, e.g. this one by Jayne Willoughby Scott. Seeing the quilting pattern on the back side certainly adds to the pleasure of having seen the front!

Jayne Willoughby Scott, back of "Nightdrawing 14"

Jayne Willoughby Scott, Nightdrawing 14
The second part of the exhibition is dedicated to the newest quilts by Nancy Crow, who has started on a completely new path a little more than a year ago, when she began making mono-prints.
As I already mentioned in my last post, Nancy Crow’s name is presented prominently on the front of the flyer, suggesting that this is the more important part of the exhibition. The same was true for the opening speech by Claire Benn, who had flown in from London to open the exhibit on Nancy’s behalf. She barely mentioned the other fifty quilts that were hanging throughout the museum.
Because I had written an article on this ‚coming exhibition’ for the journal of the German Patchworkgilde in September, for which I had received pictures of Nancy’s quilts, I knew sort of what to expect in terms of different style of quilts and color.
However, when I recall what I learned in Nancy’s classes about colors, design, composition and unity of the whole arrangement, I admit that I was not terribly impressed with some of these quilts.
I admire the guts that Nancy has to be starting on such a completely new venture by taking on a new technique, and I am convinced that it will be very interesting to follow her development. Claire Benn said in her speech: „And then I tell my students ‚now get to work, and do at least a hundred of these.’ Nancy is exceptional in that she did.“
But even a well-known artist perhaps need not exhibit all of these hundred first attempts as accomplished pieces of art. Of these four quilts in the picture, the one in the lower right hand corner carries the number 97.

Nancy Crow, Self-Portraits

While I was looking at the exhibit, it was the only one that I really found worth looking at in more detail, and that I could relate to in some manner. With most of the others I did not connect easily. When looking at the picture now, I do think the two white and black ones are also worth looking at, this seems to be an effect of the zooming onto picture size, though, they certainly did not appear clear or understandable to me when I was standing in front of them. 
It will be interesting to see numbers 100 and up, because I am sure Nancy has a lot to say through printing.
The exhibit is on until March 10, 2013, and the museum is within walking distance of the train station in Neumünster.


  1. Congrats on having your work in such a prestigious exhibition.

    And though I was very interested to see Nancy Crow's self portraits - like you, I confess that I am a bit befuddled by them. Neverthless, I'm very happy to see her heading off in a new direction as I was *ahem* growing quite bored by her body of work... er, rather, am looking forward to seeing something new from her!

  2. Thank you for your very interesting comments on this exhibit. I find it hard to understand why Nancy's quilts would be shown with the Color Improvisations, and not in a separate exhibit. It is amazing that she has made 97! and I will have to get used to this new direction she is going in.