Last Friday evening Craft Alliance opened a new exhibition at its UCity Gallery, "Storylines: Contemporary Embroidery." Five artists were invited to participate in the show, including an old friend, Michael Aaron McAllister, shown below. The other artists are Deborah Slabeck Baker, Diem Chau, Chris Niver, Cayce Zavaglia, and Ray Materson. If you are interested in art and needlework, this is definitely an exhibition to see.
I was first exposed to Aaron's talent with a needle and embroidery thread when we worked for Mary Engelbreit years ago. During the lunch hour, Aaron would work on his fabulous creations; and, on occasion I would receive one of his cherished stitched invitations to his annual Oscar Night party in Soulard. He often includes a line of humor in his pieces, which depict historical and literary figures. When he isn't "hooping" he works as an Assistant Librarian at the Upper School at MICDS…a job he adores.
Aaron told me on Friday that he was quite honored to be included in "Storylines." One of the other artists in the exhibition, Ray Materson, learned to stitch when he was a prison inmate. He would unravel socks and use the thread to create his miniature works, which are collector's items, and measure a mere 2.5 x 3". The feathered stitches in his fascinating pieces are amazingly tiny.
Two of Aaron's pieces exhibited at Craft Alliance are shown here, one of Coco Chanel and a partial shot of an embroidery of Frank Lloyd Wright. The exhibition runs through May 8.
Also last week, the Sam Fox School at Washington University hosted the 2011 International Printmaking Conference,titled "Equilibrium". More than 1200 printmakers descended on St. Louis, and several galleries in the Central West End held exhibitions featuring printmakers to coincide with the Conference.
At the Atrium Gallery, 4728 McPherson, internationally-known printmaker Karen Kunc, standing above right, gave a Saturday morning lecture following the Friday night opening of her exhibition, "An Eden." Carolyn Miles, Atrium Gallery's founder, is shown standing left.
Karen Kunc is a printmaking professor at the University of Nebraska. She explained her printmaking process to an audience that included participants of the Printmaking Conference including a Japanese student from a small college in southern California who fell in love with the CWE. "An Eden" will be on exhibit until May 8.
Another CWE gallery participating in the printmaking conference was the Duane Reed Gallery, located across from Atrium Gallery at 4729 McPherson. The work of Eva Isaksen, a Seattle-based artist who was born in Norway, will be on exhibit until April 23.
Isaksen(left) prints, draws, and cuts thin papers and then layers them endlessly to create her art, shown above and in the background to the right. (You'll have to stop by Duane Reed to get a better look.)
The back room at Duane Reed houses an exhibition of Therman Statom's glass pieces. Statom is an American Studio Glass artist whose primary medium is sheet glass, which he paints and assembles adding found objects, shown above and below, to stunning effect.
Therman Statom's work will be also be shown at the Duane Reed Gallery until April 23. Finally, the Willam Shearburn Gallery at 4735 McPherson showed an eclectic mix of art including works on paper by Edward Ruscha and Wayne Thiebaud.