The Rhythmic Art of Thread At LeRoy Neiman Art Center

November 4, 2015

Michael Cummings - Carnival Time in New Orleans-1The LeRoy Neiman Art Center and Harlem Needle Arts are pleased to present The Rhythmic Art of Thread: Exploring the World of the Fiber Constructionist. The exhibition opens on Friday, November 13, 2015 and runs through January 15, 2016, at The LeRoy Neiman Art Center located at 2785 Frederick Douglass Blvd at 148th Street in Harlem.  There will be an opening reception on Friday, November 13th, 6-9pm.

The Rhythmic Art of Thread showcases the diversity of artists and themes related to indigenous culture, spirituality, historical events, icons and inspiration. Eleven artists are featured in the exhibition:  Michael Cummings, Shimoda Emanuel, Ife Felix, Laura B. Gadson, Omi Gray, Jacqueline Johnson, Jackquelynn Jones, Dindga McCannon, Sherry Shine, Lisa Shepard Stewart and work from the Estate of Luberta Mays.

The rhythm of creating intricate designs and use of bold colors and patterns pay homage to the influences of family traditions and customs that date back centuries,” says Michelle Bishop, guest curator and executive director of Harlem Needle Arts.  “Africans of the Diaspora construct for ceremonial and utilitarian artifacts made through the use of threads, with techniques that mirror what we know today as quilting, weaving, applique, felting and fiber fusion.”

The exhibition is dominated by the women artists, most of which are premier quilt makers including Dindga McCannon, born and raised in Harlem is a self taught artist, working intuitively, fusing my fine art training with the traditional women’s needlework taught to her by her mother and grandmother, combining sewing, beading, embroidery and quilting into what is now known as ArtQuilts; Ife Felix, a founding member of Harlem Girls Quilting Circle combines her love of textiles, fashion and teaching to tell stories in cloth;  Laura B. Gadson, a fiber and mixed media artist, blends many world in her work that is inclusive of repurposing materials and utilizing traditional and modern techniques; Omi Gray focuses her artistic interest on the process of creating jewelry and fiber arts as a tool of problem solving;  Lisa Shepard Stewart uses authentic African textiles to create her works of art and Jackqueline Jones, a mixed media enthusiastic uses quilting, dyeing, sculpture and hand stitching to inform her work.

Most noted among the group of fiber constructionists is Michael A. Cummings and the only male featured in the exhibition.  Cummings’ work as a quilter has brought him national and international attention.   “…As a male quilter, I am in a unique position.  It forces people to reassess what they think men can and cannot do,” states Michael A. Cummings.  “And if you dig a little deeper, you’ll learn that in Africa and other non-Western places, men have been the ones who created and work with fabric – for centuries.”

“The Center is delighted to have this exhibition featuring an exceptional group of fiber artists,” says Marline A. Martin, curator and executive director, LeRoy Neiman Art Center.  “Each of the artists have their unique way of creating these beautiful works of art and this exhibition represents an intimate bond between the community and cultural identity. With the cold weather approaching, what a great way to share memory and reverence by honoring our cultural heritage.”

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