Several works in this exhibition embody a carefully considered approach to conceptual and technical innovation. Sharon Marcus’s Walls of China (figure 1), Susan Iverson’s Horizons–Dreaming Sacsahuaman (figure 2), and Christine Laffer’s Signs of a Shift all manipulate and push the structural identity and the physical presence of tapestry.
We know Tapestry as an identity can undergo dramatic change. The dynamics of the Fibre Revolution of the late 60’s and 70’s saw tapestry change its location from wall to space. Narrative became overwhelmed by process and illusion subverted by the presence of primary material. Yet, a decade or so after this dynamic experimentation tapestry makers seemed to reclaim much of the tradition of tapestry, its wall-based location, refinement of technique, narrative and personal content, composition and spatial illusion.Some 25 years later, ATB 4 seems to confirm an identity for tapestry linked to a narrative and metaphoric tradition and constructed within the parameters of a unique material identity. Marcel Marois states this well in his catalogue essay for the exhibition “Tapestry Visions” in Minneapolis in 1994. He writes:
“Tapestry as an art form has never, in fact, broken with its past. It is perhaps, in the final analysis, an art of synthesis; thus the links which it forges between tradition, modernism and the present lead to continual renewal of its content and pictorial vocabulary in perfect continuity with its origins.”2
2 Marcel Marois, Tapestry Visions, essay, exhibition at Minneapolis College of Art and Design sponsored by Convergence ’94 and the Handweavers Guild of America.