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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dayton Art Institute: Changing Landscapes: Contemporary Chinese Fiber Art

The Dayton Art Institute is another one of those Midwestern gems.  I remember when I lived in Connecticut, I tried to explain to people how in the Midwest, smaller cities had surprisingly good art resources because it pulled in people from the area, whereas in Connecticut, so much was focused on Boston and New York that sometimes smaller cities were not as rich as their Midwestern counterparts.

I realize that this a broad generalization and there are exceptions, some smaller cities in New England have great art resources and some smaller cities in the Midwest are devoid of the arts.

The permanent collection at DAI is great....The traveling shows are often jaw dropping.  I stopped in on this last Sunday to pass off some PFD fabric to a fellow MVAQNer, and while I was waiting, I saw "Changing Landscapes: Contemporary Chinese Fiber Art" and "Maya Lin: Flow".  I have to admit, from the materials I saw advertising the show didn't make me want to drop everything and see it.  A friend recommended it, but still, I was a bit underwhelmed. I'm not sure why....maybe it was the cover on the member magazine advertising it...

However, the show was knock your socks off.  This is the last stopping point before the show returns to China and if you are in the Dayton area, you must not miss it.  48 artists were chosen from the past 5 international Fiber Art Biennials which have been held in China since 2000.  The show includes pieces which were woven, put on armatures, free standing pieces, figurative as well as abstract, some inspired by ancient Chinese art forms, others as modern as can be.  Natural materials as well as synthetic filaments and steel rods are included in the pieces..

I think the member's magazine says it best:   "Changing Landscapes provides a snapshot of how three generations of artists have used fiber as an expressive media to respond to economic, political, and social changes that have transformed the Chinese landscape over the past decade. " (page 2).

The exhibition runs through June 17, and on Sunday, May 20, at 2:00 pm Lisa Morrisette, guest curator for "Changing Landscapes" will present a lecture entitled "Art vs. Craft.When is Fiber Art "Art"?.  In her talk, she will "explore some of the difficult issues around this seemingly impassable divide."

If you are in the Dayton area, or can manage to come to Dayton, this show is definitely worth seeing. 

Of course, you're probably wondering what the piece of glass work is...Since they don't allow photographs of traveling exhibitions, I shot this wonderful glass sculpture from the permanent collection.  DAI has a strong collection of glasswork which is shown on a rotating basis in the gallery just before the changing galleries.  I adore the colors and the whimsy in this piece. 

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