Take Me to the River
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
Take Me to the River, 2001
Carol Harris (American, born 1943)
Cotton and cotton/polyester blend
Gift of Kempf Hogan
Carole Harris’s Take Me to the River derives visual impact from the artist’s use of quilting, as her stitching suggests the flow of water from a source located on the quilt’s upper left. Harris used earthen-toned fabrics and geometric shapes to piece the left quarter of the top, and a strip of purple fabric visually creates a barrier between this assemblage and a large field of dark fabric. The barrier is “broken” about a quarter of the way down, and by quilting large arcs the artist suggests the flow of water over and into the dark field. Her composition and the attendant quilting play a key role in the theme communicated by her design as well as her title.
Carole Harris received a BFA from Wayne State University. She is a self-taught textile quilter and has little in common with the other quilters whose work appears in this collection. A prominent contemporary quilt artist, she exhibits widely across the United States. She lives, as she always has, in an urban environment, as opposed to the rural settings in which the other quilters have spent their entire lives. She trained as an artist but was never comfortable with paint because she found it messy, so she turned to fabric as her medium. When she finished this quilt, she appended an artist’s statement:
“My work is grounded in traditional quiltmaking, with an attempt to expand the definition and possibilities of quiltmaking as an art form. Most of my work is about evoking the same warmth, rhythms, energy and movement found in African American music, blues and jazz in particular. Some of the techniques I employ in my works are the use of repetitive patterns, forms and color juxtapositions as well as manipulations of spaces and textures against large areas of negative space.”
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