The Embedded Message: Quilting in Contemporary Art

Categories of the past are collapsing in contemporary art. Artists use the medium and materials that are the best conduit for personal, political and social messaging, and often their artistic practices include many processes at once. As they looked closely at work being made by contemporary artists, curators Stefanie Fedor and Melissa Messina repeatedly saw the quilt being used by contemporary artists as a medium to explore questions and communicate messages. They put together an exhibition that would allow the artists to tell us why the quilt resonates so strongly right now. In the resulting show, 13 artists show us why this is happening in the art of the now. I spoke with them both, and quilt artist Gina Adams, just as the show opened.

The Embedded Message: Quilting in Contemporary Art, curated by Stefanie Fedor and Melissa Messina, is on view at The Visual Arts Center of Richmond  through February 11th.

In using the antique quilt as the object, for many of the artists in the show, the energy that the object is embued with by whoever made it and how it was used - they’re stained, they’re ripped, they have their own history that the artists are using as this kind of loaded canvas. Even if artists are playing with or disrupting the traditional quilt and its own history, they’re also honoring it and paying homage to their history, as much as they’re adding their layered, updated conversation.
— Melissa Messina

Paige hosts the LookSEE podcast and is a freelance audio producer, an art lover, and a lifelong Richmonder. Her favorite place to be is in a museum. A close second is a bookstore.