Founded in Britain in 1985 to develop and promote the quilt as an art form, the Quilt Art group currently includes artists from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, the Netherlands, and the United States. Small Talk—one of two 30th anniversary exhibitions—celebrates the possibilities of the textile form and surface. 

The work presented here reflects a mixed media approach to a range of formal and conceptual concerns. In addition to traditional textile techniques like piecing and quilting, weaving and resist-dyeing, embroidery and appliqué, the methods and materials of painting, printmaking, sculpture, and photography are in evidence throughout. So are ideas about mark-making, surface and layering, and the ephemeral nature of memory, history, text, and textile. 

Here, the artists have committed to working smaller than usual. Like free-verse, modernist poets, they conjure the elements—earth and atmosphere, vessels and garments and automobiles—with plain stuff: paper and cloth, metal and string. Columnar forms and multi-panel formats predominate, suggesting both the stress and flexibility of attenuation, and the capacity for iteration and reiteration. Through their self-reflexive attention to process, the members of the Quilt Art group tell us something about the development of the textile as art.