A summer of superb art and surprises

It’s hard to believe that the spring melted into summer, and now summer is coming to an end. As I have been busy coaching, conducting workshops and revamping my studio space for lots of new fall events, I have also visited museums and found inspiration of many kinds that has excited and propelled me all season.

Boston museums have hosted many marvelous exhibitions in the last months. Among my favorites was the Quilt and Color exhibition at the MFA. Having entered the gallery with the idea that I'd take a quick look at the Pilgrim/Roy quilt collection and move on to seeing other works in the museum, I was astonished at what I found. The exhibition was organized brilliantly by color and captivated me. I felt as though I was reliving color theory as I’d learned it in college — but this time in a delightful and unique way. The color lessons were provided by groupings of work done by brilliant artists, women who worked in isolated rural communities over a century ago. Their work was never appreciated as fine art or lauded for its brilliance of design, color, imagination and fabulous craft. I loved the variety and the beauty of the fantastic collection, and loved that this art was being seen and appreciated in a major museum exhibition.

quilt strip.jpg


The work of a young, contemporary woman artist, also working with textiles, resonated for me this summer, too. I was taken by surprise at The Isabella Stuart Gardener Museum when I saw the exhibition, Carla Fernández: The Barefoot Designer: A Passion for Radical Design and Community. Fernández is a Mexican artist and fashion designer who has documented indigenous Mexican textile making techniques and has honored that heritage by incorporating the materials into striking contemporary fashion designs and accessories. The exhibition also included drawings, photographs, videos, performance and source materials, all of which were fascinating and marvelous.


It was a delight and yet another surprise to discover the work of Lesley Dill at the Decordova Sculpture Park and Museum. The 20-year survey of Dill's work was a revelation for me. Her materials, concepts and integration of text in her drawings, sculptures and mixed media pieces were marvelous to explore.


On a visit to Maine we made two trips to the Portland Museum of Art because there was so much to see and enjoy. The retrospective of Richard Estes’ Realism was fantastic, and the museum's extensive permanent collection was wonderful. 

Of all the work that inspired me recently, one exhibition I loved will be on view until November 2. If you can get to the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston this fall, I recommend you spend 64 minutes experiencing the video performance, The Visitors. The film, on multiple screens in a large space, documents a durational performance by Ragnar Kjartansson and musician friends. It transfixed me, both with beautiful and moving music and with visuals that are quietly compelling.


I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to see such marvelous and brilliantly varied work at great museums in my area. I hope that wherever you live, or wherever your travels take you, you too have the opportunity to experience creativity that opens your senses and fills your heart.