The Cahoon museum “Weaving messages” hypnotizes

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Two new, unusual and eye-catching exhibitions have opened at the Cahoon Museum of American Art in Cotuit and are on view until December 19.

In the bright main gallery on the ground floor, visitors can see “Brenda Kingery: Weaving Messages,” a dozen of the artist’s large-scale paintings that fill the room with bands of red and brown, punctuated with speckles. bright red or blue. Multicolored images often resemble folds of beautiful fabrics, incorporating colorful geometric patterns.

According to the generous text accompanying the exhibition, Kingery’s background and life experiences both defined and propelled the creation of his compelling images. Born in 1939 in Oklahoma and a member of the Chickasaw Nation, she studied fine arts at the University of Oklahoma, where her work was influenced by the Abstract Expressionist art movement, which took on more and more in addition to importance in the United States.

In the 1960s, Kingery married and moved to Japan, where she undertook an in-depth study of Okinawa’s cultural heritage, including that of its famous native weavers and potters, later including many of their tactile elements. and practices in his paintings. While living in the Japanese islands, she studied with a native sumi-e artist, whose ink washing methods were later incorporated into her multi-layered and mixed-media paintings.

She later traveled extensively to Mexico, Central America and parts of Africa, absorbing a variety of artistic traditions, and in the 1990s she “began to reconnect with her (Chickasaw) heritage”, adding Native American art forms in his work, to reflect a true “global identity”.

Brenda Kingery: Grandfat.her's Journey, 1990 (acrylic on canvas)

One wall in the exhibit displays a stenciled quote that sums up Kingery’s artistic theme of “ascending and descending” cultures:

“Sometimes crops have to sink into the deep and wait to come back – then they rise, continue, survive. “

Sarah Johnson, director of Cahoon, said the exhibit was part of the museum’s ongoing efforts “to amplify Indigenous voices and stories … and create a more inclusive view of American art.”

Johnson praised Kingery’s “very unique combination of influences … (where the artist) manages to bring all of these components together in a beautiful and cohesive way, (conveying) the colors of places, of specific movements, sounds and emotions “.

Upstairs in the original Cahoon building, visitors can admire the marvelous tactile exhibit, ‘Interwoven: Contemporary Basketry’, a breathtaking display of the art of weaving, with examples of basketry from some of the major contemporary basketry makers of the country. Their beautiful examples of sculptural weaving explode any notions we may have had that basketwork is simple, conventional or confined to the utilitarian.

Pamela Becker, Days End, 2019, linen and rayon thread, reed core.

Nearly a dozen innovative basket weavers have deployed a palette of colors, materials and designs. There is an overwhelming urge to touch the many textures on display – so there is a table set up in one room that allows visitors to touch samples of the materials that have been used.

Pamela Becker, Days End, 2019, linen and rayon thread, reed core.

Going beyond the concept of simple ‘containers’, these sculptural forms use techniques that are difficult to imagine and inventive and unorthodox materials, such as translucent monofilament (Sui Park), akebia vines (Kari Lonning) and seaweed (Jeannet Leendertse), in addition to the more traditional reeds or rattan, molded into amazing shapes.

Detail of the art of sculptural basketry: "The blindness of vision models" (2021), by Nathalie Miebach.

Other artists featured include Pamela Becker, Jeanne Flanagan, Lynne Francis-Lunn, Lissa Hunter, Arlene McGonagle, Nathalie Miebach, Lois Russell and Elizabeth Whyte Schulze, whose work fills the upstairs rooms with a striking combination of colors and shapes.

“This balance of mastery of the practice combined with personal expression and creative innovation is what makes these sculptural vessels so unique and powerful,” Johnson said. “The stories of the artists, their way of working and their exhibits are fascinating and surprising. “

Sculpted seaweed vessel (2020, 2021) by Leannet Leendertse.

Visit the Cahoon

The new exhibitions “Brenda Kingery: Weaving Messages” and “Interwoven: Contemporary Basketry” are presented until December 19 at the Cahoon Museum of American Art, 4676 Route 28, Cotuit.

The museum’s opening hours are Wednesday. until Sun, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission: $ 10, $ 8 seniors, students, under 12, free. More information on conferences or special programs at cahoonmuseum.org/ or 508-428-7581.

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