April 11–May 3, 2020
Open Saturdays and Sundays

Atlas Studios
11 Spring Street, Newburgh, NY

Lost and Proud 

Liz Collins, Katie Ford, Anne Lindberg & Laurel Sparks

River Valley Arts Collective is pleased to announce Lost and Proud, an exhibition of painting, drawing, photography, and sculptural work by Liz Collins, Katie Ford, Anne Lindberg, and Laurel Sparks, artists who integrate techniques traditionally employed in weaving and fiber art in to their studio practices. This exhibition and related activities will take place in the central gallery of Atlas Studios in Newburgh. Atlas Studios provides work space to a dynamic community of artists, makers and creative professionals, housed in a 1920s industrial building that was originally a worsted yarn factory.

The exhibition’s title Lost and Proud cites a seminal work by Lenore Tawney. The work was created in 1957—the year that Tawney relocated her studio from Chicago to New York’s Coenties Slip—and represents a period of important experimentation. Tawney challenged the technical conventions of weaving that she had been taught at the Penland School of Crafts in the early fifties, inventing a process she named “open warp.” This technique is evident in Lost and Proud, within which the vertical lines of the warp remain visible and the thread of the weft, which would normally follow a rigid horizontal path, adopts free-form linear patterns. Tawney’s open warp tapestries purport a strong relationship to drawing, visible in two distinct versions of Lost and Proud’s composition–in the tapestry, a bird’s form is primarily illustrated with erratic-weft threads, whereas the same form can also be found in a drawing journal from the same period, faithfully replicated in ink.

Here, we explore various approaches to process and gesture through the lens of Tawney’s legacy of proficient materiality and innovation in the work of four Hudson Valley artists—Liz Collins, Katie Ford, Anne Lindberg and Laurel Sparks. Like in Tawney’s open warp tapestries, these artists rarely adhere to rigid expressions of the grid, embracing instead more fluid and improvisational compositions. The exhibition also considers the relationship between line and thread, with works on paper that relate to the qualities of textile. The title Lost and Proud suggests a confident and experimental mode of working, typified by each of these artist’s inquisitive and open-minded approach to their practice.

In conjunction with the exhibition, River Valley Arts Collective will host a public program at Atlas Studios on Saturday, May 2 exploring Lenore Tawney’s work and her recent retrospective, Mirror of the Universe, on view at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in 2019. Public talks will take place in two sessions: first, curators Karen Patterson of the Fabric Workshop and Jennie Goldstein of The Whitney Museum will explore the historical context of Tawney’s work, then curator Shannon Stratton and artists Anne Lindberg and Julia Bland will explore multivalent uses of fiber in contemporary artistic practices. A short documentary on Lenore Tawney produced by the John Michael Kohler Arts Center will also be screened.

River Valley Arts Collective was founded by Alyson Baker in January of 2019, and is currently presenting itinerant programming in the Hudson Valley while working to secure and equip a permanent location. As goals are fully realized in the coming years, it will provide artists with the resources to create and present their work and host programs that connect and foster the creative community of our region. Central to River Valley Arts Collective will be an exhibition venue alongside three expansive communal studio spaces outfitted with tools and equipment for work in fiber, wood, and clay, available to artists of the Hudson Valley and artists who are participating in area residencies.

This exhibition is on view from April 11 to May 3, 2020 (12 to 5pm) at Atlas Studios, 11 Spring Street, Newburgh, NY.