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.