A compendium of craft masquerading as art, art masquerading as craft, and craft extending its middle finger.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Thoughtful Quilts

Denise Burge is a quilter in a strict sense of the word. Her quilts, literally, don't fit inside of the box. They're messy affairs, spilling out of boundaries and constructed of a variety of fabrics and stitches, grabbing the viewer by the scruff of the neck. Looking at these quilts, which are often combined with drawings and painting directly on walls, I am reminded of trying to have a conversation with somebody who is fairly bursting with information, trying to convey it all in one caffeinated stream-of-consciousness. I don't mean this in a bad way. Burge's work is urgent, funny, and thought-provoking. The quilted parts of her work add a layer of meaning, history, and accessibility, drawing the viewer into a dialogue with their own preconceived notions of art and craft.

The Philip Guston-esque cartoon imagery that she draws are accentuated with cartoon speech balloons that are every bit as detailed and compelling as the images themselves. I love the way that Burge waxes poetic about filth and decay, elevating entropy to its rightful place in the cosmos. The fact that these are quilts also makes them walk a fine line between object and image, as well as text and object. I am dying to see some of these images in person. If you lived in Cincinnati, you might have seen her work recently in a show at the Semantics Gallery with the best title I've ever heard: "furry-stitchy-twitchy-rust", which featured other like-minded artists. If you missed the show, you can still check out her website.



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