Continuing through February 1, 2014
The usual orderliness and conformity of patchwork quilts gets turned on its head in the “Patched” and “Dots” series of large paintings by Kaori Takamura, a Tokyo native who now lives in Arizona. Almost every “patch” stirs nostalgia by appropriating a familiar fabric design such as paisley or checkerboard, together with familiar vector art and typography that recalls simpler times. But the artist’s real concern is modern life’s randomness and the often disorderly way in which we stitch feelings and events together.
The busy rectangular and oval forms representing fabric cut-outs are sometimes misshapen, and when Takamura machine-stitches the canvas, the lines are frequently crooked or misplaced, like scribbles on a drawing. Best of all, real thread wanders every which way on the paintings’ surface, forming a tangled but pleasingly tactile mess. The show also includes the artist’s “American Quilt” series of paintings, which pays homage to quilt-makers who embedded secret messages into their patterns. The black-and-white “American Quilt, Rail Fence (BK3013),” in particular, recalls such coding during the era of slavery and the Underground Railroad.