Man-Made

Man-Made

Man-Made

MAN-MADE: Contemporary Male Quilters examines the unique aesthetics and techniques that male artists bring to a craft long-associated with feminine arts and labor. Though a minority in the field of quilting, the number of male quilters is increasing worldwide. The eight exhibiting artists are part of a loose-knit community of male quilters whose quilts utilize striking contemporary imagery and compositions that navigate their personal interests often related to painting, film, and popular culture.

Artists in the art quilt movement—a quilting practice developed in the 1980s by professional artists rather than domestic makers—diverge from the parameters of conventional quilting by experimenting with the ways in which quilts can represent concepts and ideas in addition to patterns. The artists selected for this exhibition, who are leading figures in the movement today, use powerful central images to represent their subjective interests. They also use their prior training in architecture, painting, filmmaking, science, or sculpture to inform their art.

Most of the artists in Man-Made were conscious of their male gender identity when they took up quilting, which comes across in their irreverent use of alternative materials and processes. Addressing stereotypical qualities of “maleness,” Ben Venom makes quilts that revolve around heavy metal music, and Dan Olfe uses video game software to conceptualize his quilts. Luke Haynes and Joe Cunningham are masters of industrial machine-based quiltmaking, while Aaron McIntosh and Shawn Quinlan tackle mass media-generated ideals of masculinity and sexuality. Jimmy McBride offers a view into the imaginary sci-fi world of a space trucker, and Joel Otterson re-imagines objects from domestic environments as works of art

Joe Cunningham

Joe Cunningham
Joe Cunningham

Joe Cunningham (born 1952) has been quilting for 36 years. Having studied with esteemed American quilter Mary Schafer, traditional techniques are the foundation upon which Cunningham has developed his unique, personal style. He often responds critically to current events or natural disasters by making a quilt when he feels helpless to do anything else. Cunningham’s 11 books on quilts include Men and the Art of Quiltmaking.

“For me, having been steeped in a conservative approach from the beginning of my quiltmaking practice in 1979, I still carry a lot of traditional ideas in my work. I am, for instance, making something that can be used as a blanket, a human-sized object that one could use to wrap up in, against the coldness of the universe. I am using commercial fabrics mostly, instead of dyeing or printing my own. I am using standard quiltmaking techniques, sometimes even hand quilting on an old-fashioned frame."

Luke Haynes

Luke Haynes
Luke Haynes

Luke Haynes (born 1982) attended University of North Carolina School of the Arts, before graduating in Architecture from Cooper Union in New York City. He currently lives in Los Angeles, California. Luke is a quilter who likes “to blur the distinction between function and art and alter the way objects are perceived.” Haynes is known for his portrait quilts that often depict himself, his family and friends, or celebrities in a variety of contexts.

“I have been working for 10 years to understand and implement quilts as fine art ... images I have grown up with as the foundation of American art meshed with the ideas of quilting I have been working with.

Jimmy McBride

Jimmy McBride
Jimmy McBride

Jimmy McBride (born 1979) graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. McBride is a science fiction fan who uses quilts to create a narrative about travel in outer space. These story quilts involve an intricate design process that begins with copying an image from the Hubble Space Telescope website, then using Google Image Search and Photoshop to develop perspective. By using the cutout feature in Photoshop, McBride can break diffuse gases into planes of color, rendering the images much easier to translate into swatches of fabric from men’s shirts, which are then assembled, sewn, quilted, and embroidered.

“I work for a shipping company called Intergalactic Transport. I travel back and forth from rock to rock carrying those two all-important gems—salt and vinegar. There’s a lot of time to kill up here so I downloaded a grandma program, and she’s been teaching me how to quilt. There’s no ‘log cabins’ or ‘poinsettias’ around so I just stare out the window until something catches my eye.”

Aaron McIntosh

Aaron McIntosh
Aaron McIntosh

Aaron McIntosh (born 1984) is a graduate of the Appalachian Center for Craft at Tennessee Tech University. He received a Master of Fine Art degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and currently teaches at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Fiber Department. McIntosh’s quilts are focused on the subject of desire and longing.

“My main interest lies in how stereotypes of sexual emotions, experiences, and identities are propagated in mass-produced images and print material, and in turn, how these images and text shape our own identities … Deconstructing these images and cultural artifacts opens up gaps in which I can insert and reconstruct my own complicated narrative as a nerdy Appalachian queer guy … These saturated works draw attention to the often murky intersection of personal desires and family institutions, as well as openly question our larger social constructions of deviancy, normality, adolescent imprinting, and generational divides.

Dan Olfe

Dan Olfe
Dan Olfe

Dan Olfe (born 1935) has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Princeton University and a doctorate from California Institute of Technology. He is a retired professor of engineering at University of California, San Diego. Although Olfe is a self-taught artist, he has an advanced understanding of the computerized technology that is the catalyst for his artwork. Olfe originally conceptualized quilts using graphics software. This eventually led to printing his designs on a larger scale via a dye sublimation process that vaporized solid dyes and applied them to fabric. Olfe now works almost exclusively with 3D design software.

“My technical background really helped. 3D is what video game designers use to create scenes and textures, and to model landscapes for animations. I no longer start with digital images, but instead create objects from scratch.

Joel Otterson

Joel Otterson
Joel Otterson

Joel Otterson (born 1959) graduated from Parsons School of Design at The New School in New York City. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles. For the past 30 years, Joel Otterson has made sculpture that combines aspects of domestic handicraft with traditional sculptural materials. Over the years, Otterson has investigated the domestic environment, working his way through each room in the typical American home to reimagine household products as works of art. Using practices such as sewing and quilting, traditionally associated with feminine craft-making, he turns these humble materials into powerful art objects.

“Traditionally, men did tailoring. But quilting, embroidery, and lacemaking was women’s work. I do all those things. I’d like to think that it’s a political statement. I am a feminist, but not the Gloria Steinem kind. On occasion I have met up with a friend in Central Park—he’s big, manly, and smokes cigars, and I’m ‘bear-ish.’ He would tat and I would crochet. Even in NYC where anythinggoes, this was outrageous, two blue-collar-looking guys sitting on a park bench making strips of lace. It was crazy, and I loved every minute of it. The bottom line is that something made by hand is completely different than that made by a machine or in a factory. I celebrate what my hands and their 10 fingers can do.”

Shawn Quinlan

Shawn Quinlan
Shawn Quinlan

Shawn Quinlan (born 1962), a graduate of The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, is a television and film editor based in Pennsylvania. Quinlan routinely confronts images associated with news, media, and popular culture, which he appropriates to construct highly political quilted art works. His notorious 2009 quilt Jesus Get Your Gun was featured in an issue of the magazine Quilter’s Home, which Jo-Ann Fabrics banned from its stores.

“The content, as in many of my quilts, is loosely based on subjects such as hypocrisy, corruption, self-righteousness, and contradiction, and how these characteristics so often hide behind religion, propaganda, and the like.

Ben Venom

Ben Venom
Ben Venom

Ben Venom (born 1978) earned a Master of Fine Art degree from San Francisco Art Institute and currently resides in San Francisco. He is a heavy metal music devotee whose practice aims to redefine the boundaries and history of quilting by utilizing the aesthetic of the theatrical, high volume, and alpha male musical genre.

“I’m interested in juxtaposing traditional handmade crafts with extreme elements found on the fringes of society. My work can be described as opposing forces colliding at lightning speed. Imagery found in vintage tattoos, the occult, and motorcycle gangs are stitched together with recycled materials using techniques usually relegated to your grandmother’s sewing circle. Serious, yet attempting to take on a B-movie horror film style, where ridiculousness becomes genius. The question remains ... Can I play with madness?

Event Date
Tuesday, February 16, 2016 to Sunday, June 19, 2016