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NEW EXHIBITIONS: At Gorman and Design museums, and Craft Center

By Dave Jones on December 23, 2013 in University News


• Another California: Perspectives from the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego — Identity and politics as seen at the U.S.-Mexico border by artists who live in that area. Through May 4, Nelson Gallery, Nelson Hall.

• What’s Your Border Story? — This Nelson Gallery project includes an online map that shows the places that people are writing about; you can read the stories by clicking on “see the full transcript.” Add your own story via the comment system, or send your story by email.


UC Davis is celebrating two new arts buildings, with groundbreakings

  • Saturday, March 1 — Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art
  • Friday, May 2 — Classroom and Recital Hall

… and time capsules for both projects. You can be part of history by submitting your UC Davis memories, photos, recordings, letters, papers and art. Send them by email, or by mail to Time Capsules, in care of College Relations and Development, Office of the Deans, College of Letters and Science, University of California, One Shields Ave., Davis 95616-8572.

Winter quarter brings two textile exhibitions, one that includes a work in progress, a 408-foot-long tapestry symbolizing the link between New York City’s Iroquois ironworkers and the new Freedom Tower at One World Trade Center, and the other revealing the rich tradition and aesthetic vision of the African American quilting community.

The Craft Center Gallery opens the winter quarter with Flat Fusion Five, the first solo exhibition by Matan Shelomi, a Ph.D. candidate in entomology and a longtime volunteer at the Craft Center.

• Receiver — This solo exhibition textile artist Marie Watt (Seneca) includes a work-in-progress: 408 linear feet of hand-stitched tapestries. She’s just starting the two-year-long project, and will lead a sewing circle here and at other museums for help in creating the tapestry.

Its length matches the height of the Freedom Tower’s spire, and the length of the longest Haudenosaunee longhouse in the archaeological record. (Haudenosaunee is another name for Iroquois; a longhouse is a traditional, bark-covered house.)

The symbolism stems from Watt’s interest in Iroquois ironworkers’ significant contributions to the building of Manhattan skyscrapers, and from parallels that she sees between the dense community of the longhouse and the multifamily living units of the big city.

“Her ambitious sewing endeavor seeks to record and evoke authentic neighborly connections that occur in urban settings and tribal communities,” reads a postcard announcement from the museum.

Receiver, Jan. 7-March 14, C.N. Gorman Museum, 1316 Hart Hall. Sewing circle begins at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19. Artist talk and reception, 4-6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20.

• The Verve of Quilted Textiles: African American Quilts from the Sandra McPherson Collection — The quilters do their thing, the poet McPherson (a professor emerita of English) does hers: transforming the visual narrative of the quilts to rhythmic patchworks of American culture.

The narratives emerge from the profound colors, ornate patterns and free arrangements of swatches cut from new or used textiles, taking the quilts beyond their utilitarian purpose to convey family stories and social evolution.

“Fragments from used jeans, sack bags, worn knitwear, and men’s ties are sewn together stitch by stitch, opening windows on their journeys,” reads a Design Museum news release.

The exhibition comprises more than a dozen quilts from Gee’s Bend, Ala., California and elsewhere, given by McPherson to the university’s Design Collection. She joined the faculty in 1985, as a teacher of creative writing and poetry as literature.

The Verve of Quilted Textiles, Jan. 21-March 14, Design Museum, Cruess Hall. Opening reception, 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23.

• Flat Fusion Five — Shelomi takes culture, education and identity, and flattens them, literally and figuratively, into pieces that are as aesthetic as they are informative and informed. Some of the pieces will be available for sale after the show.

Shelomi works in the art-science fusion style, and he has credentials on both sides of that equation: He holds a bachelor's degree in organismic and evolutionary biology from Harvard University, and he studied silk screening and oil painting at Harvard’s Carpenter Center for Visual Arts.

He’s been a volunteer at the Craft Center for five years — during which time he created the works that he’s showing now, in his first solo exhibition, featuring works in a variety of media.

Flat Fusion Five, Jan. 6-Feb. 7, Craft Center Gallery, South Silo. Reception, 5-7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24.

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Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,