To make this quilt, Rosie Lee Tompkins (1936 – 2006) drew on many techniques developed by Black women quilters in the American South who blended West African textile traditions, European patterning, and individual improvisation in their art.
Oh, what fun it was to discover one of Tom Fruin’s Watertower sculptures inside an art gallery instead of out in DUMBO or somewhere off the BQE! As it turns out, Fruin’s current exhibit, Color Study, over at Mike Weiss Gallery marks the very first time that the artist’s architecturally-scaled public works have been shown in a gallery context. Super fun!
Watertower Close Up
The Watertower is constructed from found scrap metal and colored Plexiglas in a patchwork design that also incorporates facsimiles of cigar bands and the word “Ecstasy” repeated at intervals across it’s colorful and endlessly captivating surface, which is illuminated from the tower’s interior.
The wall sculpture above (of which there are several on display at Mike Weiss) will give you an idea of the grid that Fruin builds on for his colored Plexiglas creations. Check out the one below:
This patchwork of colors relates not only to the surface of the Watertower but also to Fruin’s earlier project series, Drug-Bag Quilts, in which the artist used found drug bags, stitched together with thread, to create quilt-like wall hangings. Talk about an interesting way to upcycle!
Color Study also includes a set of Swings with Cigar Band Seats which are suspended from the gallery’s ceiling (not shown) and the above lanterns, one electric and one powered by a small fuel tank.
And last but not least, Fruin has created this illuminated-from-within, Stained Glass replica of what looks to me like the cluster of flame from Lady Liberty’s torch. Astounding.
Stained Glass Flame Detail
Color Study presents enchanting and unique artworks the likes of which you aren’t going to see anywhere else in the Chelsea Gallery District, so don’t let yourself miss this one!
Tom Fruin’s Color Study will be on Exhibit Through October 18th, 2014 at Mike Weiss Gallery, Located at 520 West 24th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.