The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) is pleased to present Close at Hand: Philadelphia Artists from the Permanent Collection, featuring a broad range of significant works produced in collaboration with FWM through its renowned Artists-in-Residence program. This vibrant exhibition represents artists based in Philadelphia at the time of their FWM projects and includes works created for this show. Curated by Marion Boulton Stroud, FWM Artistic Director; Ruth Fine, Special Projects in Modern Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Virgil Marti, Artist/Curator; and Mary Anne Friel, FWM Project Coordinator/Master Printer.
"From Edward Hicks to Thomas Eakins to the present, Philadelphia has long been one of the strongest cities for the arts. Artists flourish here—it's a great place to live and create artwork—and are moving here constantly, from New York and all over the country, thanks to its many art schools and its receptive community. The small sample on view in Close at Hand: Philadelphia Artists from the Permanent Collection reveals a quality of art that has always existed, yet continues to gain momentum and thrive in Philadelphia."— Marion Boulton Stroud
This exhibition demonstrates FWM contributions to contemporary art, particularly highlighting its collaborations with Philadelphia artists. The oldest work on view predates the founding of The Fabric Workshop in 1977 while some of the commissioned works were completed in May 2011. The new works debuting are created by Moe Brooker, Listen With Your Eyes ttgg, print on silk charmeuse scarf; Tristin Lowe, Alice, 1998—the 19.5-foot bright-blue girl, made of inflatable, vinyl-coated fabric, who will be wearing a new "Alice in Wonderland" inspired dress embroidered with images of psychotropic mushrooms; and Joshua Mosley, who recently began his residency at FWM, and is composing stop-motion animations based on translations of experimental drawings.
"I am in awe of the range of groundbreaking objects in the collection of the Fabric Workshop and Museum. Philadelphia as a center of creative activity, and the community of artists based here, surely have been essential to this record of imaginative and thoughtful achievement."— Ruth Fine
Other participants include Edna W. Andrade, Maze, 1983, optical print on textile; Jill Bonovitz, Dreams, 1987, tablecloth with ceramic bowls; Moe Brooker, Moché, 1985, quilt; Mark Campbell, What Was, 1992, architectural sculpture; Charles Fahlen, My Right Foot, 1969, wax impression on cotton gauze; John Ferris, Black Landscape, 1983, quilt; Carl Fudge, Images from Durer's "The Last Supper", 1991, tablecloth; Lonnie Graham, Visitation of the Ancestors, 1992, ghostly portraits on silk; Lydia Hunn, Finger Painted Puff Curtain, 1979, cotton organdy curtains; Patterns of Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, produced with Steven Izenour and Michael Wommack, Untitled, 1996, window and wall designs; Martha Madigan, Tree Goddess Cape, 1987, richly patterned silk cape, employing images derived from photograms; Virgil Marti & Stuart Netsky, Shams, 1992, excessively decorated pillows embroidered with ironic quotes drawn from popular culture; Gabriel Martinez, Dominion Over Gentility, 1998, installation of garments created for a staged photograph; John Moore, City Day, 1981, print depicting breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with an industrial landscape view; Eileen Neff, Cézanne Dream, 1992, installation exploring Cézanne's obsession with Mont Sainte-Victoire; Sue Patterson, Of Decoherence, 1998, text-based sculptures; Jody Pinto, Hair Shirt, 1978, pigment on pigskin, displayed with preparatory graphite drawings; Italo Scanga, Pollution, 1981, print on Indian cotton; Warren Seelig, Checkerboard Awning, 1981, and Pinstripe Awning, 1981, architectural fabric constructions; Will Stokes, Jr., Bright Jungle, 1978, landscape print; and Nami Yamamoto, Miniature Garden, 2007, digitally printed textiles.
"Working with a sustained and rigorous approach in the contingent space between structure and chaos, between knowing and not knowing has allowed FWM artists-in-residence, staff and collaborators to produce an astonishing richness and range of contemporary art across media and discipline boundaries from its earliest years right up to the new projects being produced as we prepare to open Close at Hand: Philadelphia Artists in the Permanent Collection." — Mary Anne Friel
Numbering at over 5,600 objects, the FWM collections trace major movements in the field since 1977, and include significant works by past FWM Artists-in-Residence. In addition to completed works of art, FWM collects and maintains an archive of documentation and process materials related to the Artists-in-Residence projects. Photographic, video, and process materials are available for research, and provide a valuable window into the conceptual and technical development of contemporary artworks. For this exhibition, such documentation will be highlighted in the museum's Educational Video Lounge, along with recent interviews with the artists and curators.
Funding for this exhibition is provided by the Edna W. Andrade Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation.