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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Christina Pereyma: Quilting as Performance art

On July 5th, I visited the Cityfolk festival in Dayton and saw Christina Pereyma there. Christina is a performance artist, along with doing installation art and "regular" art. I first saw her work this last year at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center in Troy. She was exhibiting "Yellow Installation."

(You can see a couple of pictures here:

It caused quite a bit of press as the yellow synthetic fabric which was rust dyed was used as a background for a number of photographs of people who came in off the street and had their picture taken, then the pictures were displayed.

There happened to be an Obama rally of some sort at the Democratic headquarters, so a number of people had Obama buttons and tee-shirts. Then they brought the cardboard cutout of Obama down to be photographed with. There was no political statement made, and whoever wanted to was photographed.

A lady in town objected because she said that the Cultural Center, as a publicly funded institution should not be showing any political favoritism (no one was pictured wearing McCain/Palin pins because they didn't happen to come in).

Anyway, it was a tempest in a teapot and I thought the whole thing silly. I did enjoy Christina's pieces. Her rust dyeing was pretty neat and it is something that I wanted to look into.

I also found that it was pretty neat that Christina uses "found" materials which were given to her. Most of her work at present is on a synthetic yellow fabric which was found in the attic of a Troy home. She swears it is multiplying because even though she uses it a lot, there seems to be a never ending supply.

She also uses non-traditional fabrics and materials. Here is a really neat piece which is a sandwich of a mesh, buckram like fabric, with batting, the yellow stuff and petals and parts of a flower. The top layer is a clear cellophane-like material.

I must admit, however, I never thought of doing quilting as a performance art. Christina was working on a Davis treadle sewing machine which had been made in Dayton. There was a sign saying not to disturb the artist when working, but to wait for a break. My husband and I didn't enter from the front of the booth, so we didn't get it and I was mortified when I saw the sign as we left.

I really liked several of pieces of Christina's work. However, the curator in me could only think of Albert Pinkham Ryder. Pinkham Rider was an American artist from the late 19th - early 20th century. He was known for painting layers and layers of materials, fast drying on top of slow drying. This layering, and disregard for the types of materials means that over the years his pieces have failed, or at the very least cracked and lifted. They are a curator's nightmare.

Since Christina doesn't know what some of her materials are made of, I wonder how well they will hold up. But then again, the disintegration or degradation of the materials may be part of the essence of her work.

She is currently exhibiting at the Dayton Visual Arts Center through Aug. 20, 2009 as part of "Green: the 18th Annual Open Members' Show." On August 7, she will present "Moneybags: A Sweatshop Performance." She will create "Moneybags" on the treadle machine, and a limited number of the moneybags will be auctioned during the performance. Bidding numbers are assigned from 5 - 7; the market will open at 5:15 pm and close at 7:45 pm. Sealed bids are accepted at (937)224-3822.

What an interesting concept!

For information on rust dyeing:

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