Storytelling is the interactive art of using words and actions to reveal the elements and images of a story while encouraging the listener's imagination. Storytelling forges connections among people, and between people and ideas. Stories convey the culture, history, and values that unite people.
Artists have been using art to tell stories since the first caveman drew a hunter killing a mammoth on a cave wall. When religion became a core experience in more modern humans, we used art to bring to life stories in religious scripts. Stories can be told visually and artists use color, line, gesture, composition, and symbolism to tell a story. A picture does tell a thousand words.
Holding hands with the past while pointing toward the future, nine artists pay homage to age-old textiles as they develop new approaches to their art. Linda Dubin Garfield, Christina E Johnson, Susan Leonard, Eleanor Levie, Sandi Neiman Lovitz, Cynthia Philkill, Valetta, Elsa Wachs, and Marcie Ziskind each have their own long-developed practice of working on canvas or with paper, wool roving, cloth, and other materials. Techniques include painting, printing, felting, piecing, stitching, quilting or weaving. These artists take their place in a time-honored sisterhood of skilled makers from centuries past whose creations were often disparaged as “women’s work.” Each of the artists have daringly and confidently spun new ways to combine strands and shapes, sweep color and pattern across a surface, and express both softness and strength, and both joy and resolve as they reveal their stories Garfield is a printmaker and collage artist whose series “Paper Art Quilts” honors traditional quilt settings. Leonard is an art quilter whose quilts reveal personal stories and win prizes. Johnson challenges stereotypes encouraging individual empowerment. Levie is an art quilter, working with recycled fabrics she has printed, squeegeed, stamped, and stenciled. As a painter working on canvas with a variety of organic, mark-making techniques. Lovitz is showing works from her “Tapestry” series. Valetta uses images and words to create wall tapestries. Philkill offers insight into the people who she creates using interesting materials. Wachs, a painter, explores an ever-expanding palette of mixed media, combining digital art and other new technologies with traditional materials. Ziskind creates complex textiles involving wet felting, layering, sculpting, and embroidery. As these women connect with the past, they also connect with each other, through threads of conversation, encouragement, and inspiration, sharing their stories with each other as well as those who see their work.