The 26 quilts in this exhibition–created by 24 artists–have been conceived in improvisation, in building upon or breaking down an established pattern into something new and individually expressive. Curator Nancy Crow challenged the participating artists to create a unique design based upon the Bull’s Eye pattern: four circles comprised of concentric rings (the iconic target symbol), set in a grid of four blocks, or quadrants. Artists from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and the U.S. responded to the invitation, deconstructing and re-assembling the bull’s eye into new compositions.
The result is a strikingly complex body of images, with each piece conveying its own distinct voice. Many of the artists maintain the quadrants, with circles that vary from the rigidly geometric to wildly organic. For others, the circles break their boundaries, shift in scale, or even come to dominate the entire plane. This variety is a celebration of creativity and visual experimentation. For the viewer, it is an invitation to experience the myriad possibilities of color and shape, and to evaluate the success of each artist in transforming the simple bull’s eye into something more.
Abstraction defines both the visual and conceptual content of these quilts. Combinations of colors and shapes call to mind familiar imagery, establishing a rapport with the viewer. The use of color and pattern establishes emotional cues, with visual rhythm the dominant component, from gentle undulations and carefully regimented beats to frantic, jagged explosions.
Circular Abstractions: Bull’s Eye Quilts is a celebration of design and the skill of the artist. Speaking through the fundamental tools of artmaking — pattern, color, design, composition, rhythm, value, and movement — these pieces communicate a host of impressions and narratives. For the viewer, it is a remarkable display not only of improvisation and expression, but of artists continuing the tradition of pushing the boundaries of their medium and demonstrating a mastery of their craft.