August 15-September 23, 2019

  • Lunch Box Artist Talk Thursday, August 22, 2019, 12 noon

Tradition Turns Contemporary, honors the rich history of quilt-making while reinterpreting it through contemporary visual language and materials. Pushing the boundaries of fiber art, Dorothy McGuinness, Jennifer Salzman, and Ann Kresge, explore the essence of quilt-making.

Since quilting comes out of a domestic practice mostly executed by women, it seems fitting that three women artists are represented in this exhibit. Tradition Turns Contemporary is part of Benton County’s 2019 Quilt County, a biannual series of quilt exhibits. The Arts Center has been a part of Quilt County for many years, at times with actual quilts but more often with artwork that reinterprets the theme of quilting as “making a new whole out of smaller individual pieces.” 


Dorothy McGuinness (Everett, WA), paints strips of watercolor paper and creates baskets in unique and intriguing forms. Her work is colorful, experimental and definitely not you “grandmothers basket.” The shapes look like complicated math formulas. McGuinness says, “approaching my work as a puzzle drives me to discover new shapes and weaving innovations. I often think, how can I get this shape or pattern combination? What if I use these colors in this combination in this order/ What if…”

Jennifer Salzman’s (Creswell, OR) work has moved from photography to mixed media, as she combines photography with textile and embroidery techniques. She uses black and white photography to convey a sense of tradition and history, as present in traditional (bed) quilts but makes it contemporary through imagery and mixing of unrelated techniques and materials. Salzman uses “old” technology, such as film-based photography and traditional embroidery, to create new mixed media-based narratives.

Ann Kresge, a Salem, OR artist, is a printmaker and bookmaker who created artworks from small artists’ books to site-specific installations. Both art forms share the idea of “many small parts forming a larger whole” in common with quilting, as well as a propensity of storytelling. Books have many pages; her larger print work is dominated by a fascination with patterns. In traditional quilting, the reused materials from old clothing told a disguised story, so does Kresge’s work. Kresge explains:

With roots in printmaking and book arts I employ approaches inherent to those media: thinking in layers, series and sequence. Though experimental and expansive in my mix of materials, I am consistent in my artistic concerns. Through my explorations and resulting work I am interested in providing the viewer the opportunity to make connections and discover their own narratives and iconographies.