In the spring of 2006, the Fine Arts Department at Kean University (Union, NJ) expressed interest in having an exhibition of art quilts in the James Howe Gallery. This prime exhibition space near the theatre is located on the ground floor of Vaughn-Eames, the building on south campus housing the School of Performing and Visual Arts. Partly because of fiber artist Jappie King Black’s involvement in teaching surface design processes at Kean, we decided to have a national juried show focusing on these processes, entitled Surface Tension: Contemporary Quilt Art. I was asked to jury the entries, and to design the exhibition.
Surface Tension was exhibited from November 1 – 22, 2006. This exhibition featured cloth surfaces created and embellished via airbrushing, collage, batik, beading, burning, cording, crochet, cyanotype, discharge processes, digital imagery, dying, embroidery, felting, frottage, gel transfer, monoprint, painting, photo transfer, resist processes, screen printing, shibori, solvent transfer, stamp printing, and stenciling. The works in Surface Tension demonstrate the vitality and importance of surface design for contemporary artists working in the quilt medium.
The 28 artists in Surface Tension are from 14 states across the U.S., the District of Columbia, Belgium, and Canada: B.J. Adams, Liz Axford, Elizabeth Barton, Polly Dressler Bech, Leslie Bowman-Friedlander, Lisa Chipetine, Rachel B. Cochran, Linda Colsh, Toni Disano, Linda Dunn, Nancy Erickson, Randy Frost, Marilyn Gillis, Karen Goetzinger, Denise Linet, Arline Mathieu, Dominie Nash, Katy Kellogg Nygard, Pat Owoc, Bonnie Peterson, Judith Plotner, Mildred Thornhill Reynolds, Diane Savona, Joan Schulze, Sally Sellers, Arlé Sklar-Weinstein, Bonnie Wells, and Adrienne Yorinks. Most of the artists are professional members of Studio Art Quilt Associates (www.saqa.com), and several have had solo shows of their quilts.