BALTIMORE, MD.- Maryland Institute College of Art
hosts Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community, a traveling exhibition examining lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) identities and ideas through fiber crafts, on view Friday, Dec. 11Sunday, March 13 at MICAs Decker Gallery inside the Fox Building (1303 W. Mount Royal Ave.).
Curated by John Chaich, Queer Threads showcases works of art from 26 artists from the U.S., Canada, Argentina, South Africa and Denmark who combine fine art traditions with thread-based craft materials and processes, including crochet, embroidery, knitting, lace, macramé, needlepoint, quilting and sewing, to show the diversity of LGBTQ experiences. The exhibition, making its Maryland debut at MICA, marks the first time the pieces have been displayed together for the purpose of connecting and highlighting their queerness.
The exhibition responds to the gender connotations, feminist herstories and power hierarchies situated within the history of fiber art and domestic handicrafts, while examining the icons, tastes, roles, relationships and spaces socialized within and around gay and lesbian culture. The artists in Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community are breaking through binaries of art and craft, gay or straight, and masculine or feminine to redefine personal identities and art practices through thread-based craft materials, techniques and processes, Chaich said.
Queer Threads is both international and intergenerational in scope. The exhibition includes works from artists Chris Bogia (New York), Melanie Braverman (Massachusetts), Jai Andrew Carrillo (California), Chiachio and Giannone (Argentina), Liz Collins (New York), Ben Cuevas (California), Pierre Fouché (South Africa), James Gobel (California), Sabrina Gschwandtner (California), Harmony Hammond (New Mexico), Jesse Harrod (Pennsylvania), Larry Krone (New York), Rebecca Levi (New York), Aubrey Longley-Cook (Georgia), Aaron McIntosh (Maryland), Allyson Mitchell (Canada), John Thomas Paradiso (Maryland), Sheila Pepe (New York), Maria E. Piñeres (California), Allen Porter (America), L. J. Roberts (New York), Athi-Patra Ruga (South Africa), Sonny Schneider (Denmark), Buzz Slutzky (New York), Nathan Vincent (New York) and Jessica Whitbread (Canada). While the majority of the featured works were created in the last decade, the oldest work on view date to 1955 and 1971.
Specifically, MICAs Fiber Department faculty member Aaron McIntoshs Road to Tennessee uses a photographic image of a man in a woodland scene, reminiscence of the artists childhood, and patchwork quilt, a symbol of his traditional craft experience and his self-described pieced together identity. This specific quilt pattern has a cage, or net-like appearance, which I cannot help but connect to my own feelings of being trapped in my personal journey to/from home, McIntosh said.
Complimenting the variety of fiber and textile works on view, Queer Threads features two film/video installations: Aubrey Longley-Cooks animation featuring embroidery made by 25 community members from the Atlanta area, and an excerpt from Sabrina Gschwandtners 2008 film No Idle Hands, which documents the public action led by Liz Collins to create the massive rainbow pride flag seen in Collins site-specific installation, PRIDE.