Paper Quilt Project raises thought-provoking questions

One of the pieces at the Berkeley Art Center's Paper Quilt Project

The “Paper Quilt Project’ is a collaborative exhibit currently showing at the Berkeley Art Center, until December 4, 2011.

Using various mediums, but primarily pieced paper, teams of artists have created evocative works whose themes of interconnectivity and interdependence use as a reference the standard of American folk art – the quilt. Elements of the show play into the theme of the traditional patchwork quilt: compositions that unite miscellaneous and incongruous parts into a harmonious collaborative whole.

However the show does raise several interesting questions. Is it possible to straddle simultaneously the line between contemporary art practice and folk art and still produce work of artistic integrity? Do the resulting works of art manage to stand up under the weight of the overarching focus of the show – that of the process of collaboration itself? And finally, does such emphasis on the criteria of collaboration simply lead to too much consensus and not enough ‘bite’?

The answers await at the show – open until December 4, 2011 – and, for those intrigued by the idea of creating their own personal and collaborative quilt, the art center will host an interactive workshop for families and children on Saturday, November 12 from 1-3 pm. Join artists from the exhibition to create your own original paper quilt incorporating your own personal mementos. For details of the exhibit and workshop visit the Berkeley Art Center website.


Additionally, the individual work of several artists featured in the Paper Quilt project can be seen in ‘Visitors’, a companion, invitational exhibition at Traywick Contemporary on Colusa Avenue, running until December 17th. Visit Traywick Contemporary website to make an appointment.

Artist Susan Anglin has lived in Berkeley for four years.

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