The University of Central Arkansas’s Baum Gallery will host “Threads Through Time” Wednesday, Aug. 26 through Thursday, Oct. 15, with a ticketed, limited-attendance opening reception Wednesday, Aug. 26, from 4 to 7 p.m.
“Threads Through Time” is a comprehensive, tiered exhibition of modern and contemporary fiber art that commemorates the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sex when voting.
The public exhibition is the first in a series of suffrage centennial multidisciplinary arts events and installations intended to inspire conversation and celebrate this landmark moment in American history.
Other suffrage centennial events will follow, including a temporary sculptural installation titled “Shag Pools,” led and overseen by New York-based artist Sharon Louden, a suffrage dance performance by CORE Dance, spoken-word suffrage speeches by The Writeous Poets, and more.
“The Suffrage Movement was a time in history when women took fiber arts out of the domestic sphere and into the political arena. They used the techniques of sewing, applique, weaving and embroidery – what are often referred to as ‘women’s invisible labor’ – to create banners, sashes and clothing as vehicles of protest and occasionally, victory,” said Gayle Seymour, associate dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and the project organizer. “The Baum Gallery exhibit sets the stage for the UCA events by bringing together examples of fiber arts that link past and present, from ‘Votes for Women’ sashes to pussyhats, and shows the range of approaches to contemporary fiber arts as expressions of social protest.”
During “Threads Through Time,” Baum Gallery will show historical, traditional fiber work such as weaving, quilting and embroidery that were created by mostly anonymous Arkansas women. In addition to historical pieces, the exhibition will feature compelling contemporary works created within the last two decades by American women artists of various ages and backgrounds. These contemporary fiber artists make provocative work with social implications and use fiber as a medium equal to painting, sculpture and printmaking.
The exhibition will culminate with a commissioned, site-specific installation by Kansas-based artist Rena Detrixhe, who will create a patterned “rug” out of red dirt imprinted by discarded shoe soles. This fall, Detrixhe is serving as an artist-in-residence for the new UCA College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS). Her residency is supported by the UCA Arts Fee, which is administered by CAHSS.
All of the “Threads Through Time” artists are women. Through this exhibition, Baum Gallery hopes to recognize and celebrate the pioneering spirit of all creative women.
“We feel it is vital to send the direct message that women have been making important art that has been underappreciated for decades, if not centuries,” said Suzanne Bennett, curator of visual resources for Baum Gallery and co-curator of the exhibition. “Until recently, home arts were overwhelmingly the only outlet for women’s artistic expression.”
Other contemporary female artists in the exhibition include Louise Halsey, Liz Koerner, Deborah Kuster and Holly Laws, all of Arkansas; Pinky M.M. Bass of Fair Hope, Alabama; Lesley Dill of Brooklyn, New York; Jessie Hemmons of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Jan Hopkins of Everett, Washington; Emily Keown of Madison, Wisconsin; Delita Martin of Huffman, Texas; Patricia Montgomery of Oakland, California; Rachel Trusty of Lawrence, Kansas; and others.
Support for this exhibition has been generously provided by the UCA Foundation, CAHSS and the Conway Advertising and Promotion Commission. Institutional and private lenders include the Bonniebrook Historical Society, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, Nohra Haime Gallery, the Old Statehouse Museum, Kyle Boswell, Jack Fischer and Jon Mourot.
Due to COVID-19, the opening reception for “Threads Through Time” will be a limited-attendance, ticketed event, with small groups of guests admitted every 20 minutes. Free tickets must be reserved by filling out the form here: https://forms.gle/GLMHTyRgKJBqG zYM6. Guests should check the Baum Gallery’s website regularly for any changes or restrictions for the Aug. 26 reception and subsequent attendance during the course of the exhibition. All visitors will be required to wear a face covering inside the facility and follow social distancing guidelines. Those not willing to comply will be denied entry.