A new exhibition at Lafayette College’s Grossman Gallery highlights the artist’s use of improvisational variations of common patchwork quilt forms to engage viewers in necessary, contemporary conversations

For immediate release:

Lafayette College Art Galleries presents “Chawne Kimber: Cottoning On,” an exhibition of quilts that engages viewers in conversation about issues of identity, difference, and social justice, June 7 through July 27 at the Grossman Gallery located at the Williams Visual Arts Building (WVAB), 243 North Third Street, Easton, Pa.

An exhibition reception will be held June 28, 5-8 p.m., an Easton Out Loud event.

Kimber will give an artist’s talk “​When the Cotton is High: Social Justice and Textiles​” at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 9 in Media Room 2, located in 248 North Third Street—the building across the street from WVAB.

She will also organize a yarn bombing for the Karl Stirner Arts Trail, on July 13.

The exhibition, workshops, reception, and talk are free and open to the public.

Chawne Kimber: Cottoning On
June 7 through July 27

Using improvisational variations of common patchwork quilt forms, Chawne Kimber engages viewers in conversation about issues of identity, difference, and social justice.

Kimber is a celebrated textile artist who exhibits quilts and embroidery in museums, galleries, and festivals all over the United States. Aimée Littlewood Allen, in a 2017 Modern Quilt Guild blog article, describes Kimber as “a growing force in modern quilting, known for her award-winning work, her popular blog Completely Cauchy, and as an expert on such challenging techniques as small piecing…. But perhaps the most significant reason her audience is growing is because of [her] belief that quilts can express complicated ideas.”

Through cultivation of cotton in rural Alabama, some of her ancestors (unwillingly) participated in building the United States. Cotton has been central in the lives of the women of the artist’s family—from picking to ginning to sewing, with quilting emerging as the main mode of self-expression available. Patchwork was sewn from worn denim and calico clothing and layered with the discarded cottonseed and fluff from the gin houses for insulation to make quilts.

Inspired by quilts made by these ancestors in the late 1800s, Kimber interprets traditional patchwork forms in an improvisational style using vibrant modern colors of commercially available, all-American farmed, processed, and woven cotton. Some of her designs are geometric romps that emphasize the complex forms of negative space that naturally arise, while others utilize unusually small scaling to exaggerate shapes and tonal sequences. Using the quilt medium to respond to current race-related social justice issues, Kimber also indulges in political confrontations in quilt form.

When not manipulating cotton, Chawne Kimber is a professor of mathematics at Lafayette College.

Artist’s Talk
When the Cotton is High: Social Justice and Textiles‘”
Tuesday, July 9, 7:30 p.m., Media Room 2, 248 North Third Street, Easton ​

For centuries, women have used their utilitarian and decorative textile work to express their politics and opinions on issues of the day. Chawne Kimber will share some historical examples and then romp through her own work. Kimber’s quilts use the lens of identity and difference to confront social conflicts like campus rape culture, Black Lives Matter, and censorship.

The ​artist’s talk​ is cosponsored by the Arts Community of Easton (ACE​) and is presented during ACE’s monthly members’ meeting, which begins at 7 p.m.

Yarn Bombing on the Karl Stirner Arts Trail
& Preliminary Workshops

“Stitch in” workshops at Grossman Gallery, June 28, 5-8 p.m. during exhibition reception; July 9, 6-7:30 p.m. before artist’s talk. Yarn, knitting needles, and crochet hooks will be available.

Yarn bombing, July 13, meet at 11 a.m. at the “Blue Bridge” at the Karl Stirner Arts Trail.

 

images:
Header: The One for Eric G, 2015;  scraps of commercially dyed cottons and neutrals; improvisationally pieced by machine; longarm machine quilted by Pamela Cole; hand quilted by Chawne Kimber; hand bound; 78 inches square. Detail of work in progress. Courtesy of Michigan State University Museum Collection.

Chawne Kimber. hope, half-empty, 2019; embroidered cotton, quilting cotton, denim, perle cotton thread; improvisationally machine pieced, hand quilted, hand bound; 41 x 48 inches. The One for Eric G, 2015; Courtesy of Michigan State University Museum Collection. Girl with side-eye, 2014; embroidered cotton; 10 x 10 inches.

Lafayette is located in Easton, Pennsylvania, on the scenic Delaware River, 72 miles from New York City and 60 miles from Philadelphia. For more information and gallery hours, visit the art galleries’ website: galleries.lafayette.edu.

Easton is served by Trans-Bridge Lines, a commuter bus from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City.

For more information, contact: Michiko Okaya, director of art galleries, artgallery@lafayette.edu, or Jennifer Philburn, philburj@lafayette.edu; visit galleries.lafayette.edu or find us on Facebook, Twittter, and Instagram. High-resolution images are available on Flickr and on Dropbox by request.

Flickr link for images:
Chawne Kimber

All gallery lectures and exhibitions are free and open to the public. They are sponsored by Lafayette Art Galleries.

The exhibition is presented in conjunction with the Karl Stirner Arts Trail.
Lafayette College Art Galleries and EPI receive state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

 

Richard A. and Rissa W. Grossman Gallery
Summer hours:
Wed.-Fri. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sat. 11 – 4 p.m.
And by appointment

Williams Visual Arts Building
243 North 3rd Street
Easton, PA 18042
610 330 5831/ 5828