Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Thread Work of Other Women; Judy Chicago at the Textile Museum of Canada

Orly Cogan
Size Matters 2007Vintage fabric, stitching117 x 109 cm (46 x 43”)
Photo: Courtesy the artist

When Women Rule the World: Judy Chicago in Thread, at the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto is a survey exhibition including work from the Birth Project (1980-1985), the Holocaust Project (1993) and Resolutions: A Stitch in Time (1994 to present). This exhibition centralizes the labour-intensive nature of Chicago’s work which has been executed in textile form by a number of skilled women.

These are the names of the women making Judy Chicago’s work and the practices they bring to it. (this may not a complete list, they are all acknowledge with the pieces they worked on)

Weaver: Audrey Cowan,

Needleworkers: Jane Gaddie Thompson, Alise Anima, assisted by Jane Thompson, Mary Ewanoski, Jacquelyn Alexander Moore, Pat Rudy-Baese and Pamella Nesbit, Besty Smullen assisted by Jane Thompson and Mary Ewanoski, Lynda Paterson assisted by Jane Thompson and Mary Ewanoski, Pat Ruby- Baese, embroiderer Paula Davis, japenesse gold embroidery by Lynda Paterson, beader Lisa Maue,

Filet Crochet: Dolly Kaminski,

Dyers, spinners, weavers and needlepoint on fabric: Dr Helen Courvoisier, and Penny Davidson Harris

Garment fabrications done by Sally Babson

The Fall 1993, Modified Aubusson tapestry; wool and silk , 137 x 548.6 cm (54 x 216”) Woven by Audrey Cowan,Collection: Audrey and Robert Cowan, Photo © Donald Woodman

This exhibition is a turning back of a page in some ways. It is an opportunity to re-engage in a dialogue that has becomes defused and in some ways dropped or at least kicked under the carpet. The new generation of female artist along with their male counter parts and young artist working with textiles and fibres have little to no knowledge of how much attitudes towards woman’s creative work have changed in both academia and the “market place” of corporate, institutional, commercial and public galleries and museums in the past forty years. There are also groundbreakers and pioneers should acknowledge a certain amount of deflected denial about how much things haven’t changed.

It is a conundrum which I think the Judy Chicago exhibition along with the accompany exhibition “She Will Always be Older Then Us” will start to address or rather re- address. The discussion never ends it is just there waiting to be stirred up.

The Creation 1984 Modified Aubusson tapestry; wool, silk and gold threads 106.7 x 426.7 cm (42 x 168”) Woven by Audrey Cowan assisted by Jane Thompson and Mary Ewanoski, Photo © Donald Woodman

The Creation 1984 (detail)
Allyson Mitchell’s bring together these two groups is an interesting extension of her own material practice, which has garnered its own smattering of scandal. The controversy that seems to plague Judy Chicago’s work regardless of the content its methods of production or the context into which it is placed must be exhausting, yet she persist and produces work. The younger women in the smaller show have established beginnings an fan base and in some ways a built in crowd that understands and appreciates their work because of its DIY quality and “fibrenista” ( Tank Girl meets Chrissy, Barbie's little sister) attitudes and may wonder what all the fuss around Chicago’s
What If Women Ruled the World 2008
Modified Aubusson tapestry, fabric, silkscreen and embroidery
Four banners 91.4 x 61 cm (36 x 24”) each
Woven by Audrey Cowan, assisted by Jane Thompson and Mary Ewanoski,
Photo © Donald Woodman


When Women Rule the World: Judy Chicago in Threads, and She will Always Be Older Then Us: featuring the work of Orly Cogan, Wednesday Lupyciw, Cat Massa, Gillian Strong and Ginger Brooks Takahashi.

Curated by Allyson Mitchell.

February 12- September 7 2009

Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre Avenue, Toronto, Ontario.

September 25, 2009 – Saturday, January 23, 2010

Art Gallery of Calgary, 117 – 8th Avenue SW, Calgary Alberta
There has been one catalogue produced for these two exhibitions

When Women Rule the World: Judy Chicago in Thread. with work by Orly Cogan, Wednesday Lupypciw, Cat Mazza, Gillian Strong and Ginger Brooks Takahashi

curated by Allyson Mitchell, photography co-coordinated by Donald Woodman.
Essays by Allyson Mitchell, Sarah Quinton and Jenni Sorkin

Textile Museum of Canada and The Art Gallery of Calgary; ©2009
ISBN 978-0-9736656-9-7

106 pages, colour ill., 27.5 x 20 cm in softcover$35.00 CDN
this is available through the TMC Shop
all images where provided from the TMC ans Used with permission

1 comment:

Amy said...

The tapestries by Audrey Cowan are spectacular. I look forward to seeing them in the future. WOW!