Pavel Zoubok Gallery invites you to Piecework, a group exhibition in our side gallery featuring quilt-like collages by artists Vanessa German, Joe Lewis, Diane Samuels, Donna Sharrett and Stephen Sollins. Often adapting traditional techniques, the exhibition showcases works inspired by the history of quilt making. By using unexpected materials and addressing social and political realities, these works go beyond the cannon, dissolving the line between art and craft and re-centering the quilt as a symbol of American culture.
In a new series titled A Tailored Herbaria of At-Risk Forest Denizens, Donna Sharrett collects fallen leaves to record the existence of trees imperiled by accelerated temperature, rainfall shifts, disease, insect introductions and landscaping trends. The resulting objects of sewn and quilted leaves are arranged to illuminate the uniqueness of each leaf and identified with the tree’s GPS location. Similarly intricate is Diane Samuels’ Poetry Quilt, a personal anthology of the artist’s favorite poems, precisely 198 of them, hand-transcribed in micro-script on collaged strips of painted paper. Delia Quilts by Vanessa German pays homage to the artist’s mother, a fiber artist, and to Delia, an African slave whose daguerreotype was taken in 1850 in Columbia S.C. Her haunting image emerges from the tops of old quilts like a defiant, proud spirit. In a multi-part series of paper sculptures (three of which are on view), Stephen Sollins studies the odd shapes that makes up a 19th century Crazy quilt in the collection of the American Folk Art Museum. Part homage and part representation, these unusual pieces, made from envelopes and Tyvek, isolate each shape in a series of shifting arrangements. Joe Lewis’ Juvenile Body Bags made from Kente cloth, a royal and sacred West African woven textile, confronts the violence against black bodies/lives head on. Lewis writes that after death, no matter the circumstances, we should “wrap our loved ones in the cloth of Kings as they set out on their next journey.”
Vanessa German is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Pittsburgh. She is the founder of ARThouse, a community arts initiative for the children of her historic Homewood neighborhood. Her work is in private and public collections including Everson Museum of Art, Figge Art Museum, Flint Institute of Arts, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, David C. Driskell Center, Snite Museum of Art, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art and Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College. German’s fine art work has been exhibited widely, most recently at the Mattress Factory, Everson Museum of Art, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Studio Museum, Ringling Museum of Art and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. German is the recipient of the 2015 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant and the 2018 United States Artist Grant.
Joe Lewis is a nationally known artist, arts administrator, educator and writer. His work has been exhibited at The Los Angeles County Museum, California Afro-American Museum, The Museum of Arts and Design, the Studio Museum, the New Museum, New York Historical Society, The Grey Art Gallery, MoMA PS 1, MoMA, the High Museum and The Smithsonian Museum, among others. His work is in notable public and private collections including The Los Angeles County Museum, the Microsemi Corporation, Studio Museum, Deutsch Bank, MoMA, the Spencer Museum of Art and the University of Kansas. Lewis has received many awards including several NEA grants, a Ford Foundation Fellowship, Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, Academy of American Poets Award and was the recipient of the Contemporary American Music Fellow, Salzburg Seminar in Austria. In 2008 the New York Foundation for the Arts named him Deutsche Bank Fellow in Photography.
Diane Samuels holds a BFA and MFA from Carnegie Mellon University, a diploma from the Institute in Arts Administration at Harvard University and has received honorary doctorates from Seton Hill University and Chatham University. Her work has been exhibited at the Andy Warhol Museum, Carnegie Museum of Art, Mattress Factory, Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Book Arts, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Contemporary Arts Center of Cincinnati, Municipal Museum of Art (Gyor, Hungary), Synagogue Center (Trnava, Slovakia), Bernheimer Realschule (Buttenhausen, Germany) and Czech Museum of Fine Arts. Her work is in public collections including the Carnegie Museum of Art, Bank of New York Mellon, Reed College, Municipal Museum of Art (Gyor, Hungary) and Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry. In 2013, she was the recipient of a Rockefeller Bellagio Residency in Italy and an American Academy in Jerusalem Fellowship. Samuels is the co-founder of City of Asylum Pittsburgh, which provides sanctuary to writers in exile.
Donna Sharrett is the recipient of two fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, as well as residencies and grants from Smack Mellon, the Bronx Museum and the Millay Colony for the Arts Residency. Her work is represented in the collections of the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Contemporary Arts & Design, U.S. Embassy in Malta, Hebrew Home for the Aged and JP Morgan Chase, among others. Her work has been widely exhibited, including a two-person exhibition at the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, a solo exhibition at the Everson Museum of Art, as well as group exhibitions at the Museum of Arts and Design, Bellevue Arts Museum, University of Rochester and Marianne Boesky Gallery.
Stephen Sollins’ work has been exhibited widely since the late 1990s, with solo exhibitions at Smack Mellon, Mitchell-Innes and Nash and Mills College Art Museum and group exhibitions at the American Folk Art Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, The Drawing Center and The San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, among others. His work is in private and public collections including The Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Achenbach Foundation at The Fine Arts Museums, the Portland Museum of Art and others. He is a recipient of awards and fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, MacDowell Colony and Smack Mellon.