Clay Lohman at JSMA

We were heading to Eugene and wanted to see Clay Lohman’s installation “Camo Cubes” at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon.  Parking is very limited and we had heard that we might apply for “movie star” parking due to my knee recuperation..What a delight to drive up and find…

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We met with Curator Danielle Knapp who led us to the Clay Lohman installation in the midst of a VERY busy museum day (Danielle is on the left).

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We knew about the camo cubes from a visit we made to Clay Lohman’s studio in 2013.  In this exhibition there hangs the last painting he made before he turned to quilting, which…if you step back two steps is suddenly superimposed on the Camo Cubes themselves…

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The giant over-sized squares of the traditional quilt pattern “Tumbling Blocks” are sewn together in a giant over-sized WIP (as quilters call it…work in progress, hence, NOT quilted).  Lohman’s parents were quilt collectors and one of his grandmothers was a quilter so he had always LOOKED at quilts, but he spent most of his artistic life making paintings and collage, clay and prints.  Five years or so ago he decided to leave painting behind and sew full time.  There is a video loop playing in the installation

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and one part of the video shows Lohman with a version of a giant Tumbling Blocks quilt-top-as-curtain…

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and as Lohman begins to pull it aside…

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he reveals his studio…

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here it is on utube.

In the video version the cubes are smaller than the Camo Cubes, and he hasn’t yet begun using camouflage material which, it turns out, comes in a variety of colors and configurations…

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the squares themselves are very keen…

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as a 2D artist, as a quilter, there was a lot to think about for me in this show.  Is it an engineered space?  Is it architecture, engineering, sewing?  Is it a quilt?  Does the camo make it masculine or do the tumbling blocks pull it back to feminine? Does the fact that it isn’t “quilted” say something about gender or process?  Does the scale make it masculine?  Go take a look, you won’t be sorry…and watch the video…my favorite part is the interview with Clay Lohman made by his wife painter Julie Green where she says to him…”in 30 seconds tell me if quilting is feminine or masculine (this is not a quote)…and Lohman says…’In 30 seconds?’ ” and just laughs.  A thoughtful and thought-full presentation.

 

9 Comments

  1. To me quilting can be either masculine or feminine… it is up to the artist to choose. As far as sewing being only for women… that’s ridiculous….like cooking is for women only.

    1. and thank goodness that isn’t true! after 47 years of dinner ideas I’ve run out of steam! R has taken up the slack…thankfully because I don’t want to cook but I DO want to eat!

  2. Clay and his artist wife, Julie Green, have been mentor/friends to me for the past 17 years. I have had the opportunity to watch Clay’s portfolio swell and sway during this time. I am excited to see his work at the Museum and look forward to hearing his discussion about it, along with a lecture by Dr. Henry Sayre February 25. I’m glad you got to see it.

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