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07/16/2012

Fall, Spring Winthrop Galleries Exhibits to Explore Textile Industry

Quick Facts

 The exhibitions complement this year’s Common Book project, “Where Am I Wearing?,” in which author Kelsey Timmerman narrates his journey to meet the people who created his clothing and learn more about the force of globalization.
 "Between the Springmaid Sheets" and "Remnants: A Collection of Rock Hill’s Visual Alterations” act as a jumping off point for the year’s series of exhibitions, establishing the historic context and on-going relevance of the textile industry in the area.
 A free opening reception for exhibitions is scheduled for 6:30-8 p.m. Sept. 7.

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"Be Protected," Fritz Willis, ca. 1947
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From Kurtz's "Remnants" exhibition
ROCK HILL, S.C. – Winthrop University Galleries will present a series of exhibitions in 2012-13 exploring historic and contemporary ideas regarding textiles and the textiles industry in art and design.

The exhibitions complement this year’s Common Book project, “Where Am I Wearing?,” in which author Kelsey Timmerman narrates his journey to meet the people who created his clothing and learn more about the force of globalization.

“Between the Springmaid Sheets,” which explores the provocative ad campaigns of textile entrepreneur Col. Elliott White Springs, runs Sept.10-Oct. 26 in the Rutledge Gallery. During the 1930s, Springs inherited his father’s South Carolina textile company and formed The Springs Cotton Mills corporation. In 1948, Springs launched the controversial ads deemed “risqué” at the time with original maquettes illustrated by artists such as Rockwell Kent, Fritz Willis, James Montgomery Flagg, E. Simms Campbell, and Wales Turner of Spartanburg. The illustrations will be featured alongside the printed advertisements as seen in "Esquire," "Colliers" and "Look" magazines.

“Between the Springmaid Sheets” has been made possible with the generous support of Founders Federal Credit Union, Springs Creative, the Springs Close Family Archives, The Springs Company, and Gary and Peggy Williams in honor of the Close family and other generous donors.

Also opening Sept. 10 in the Elizabeth Dunlap Patrick Gallery is “Remnants: A Collection of Rock Hill’s Visual Alterations” by New York designer and photographer, Mara Kurtz. Kurtz photographed Rock Hill in the early 1970s prior to the federally funded “beautification program.” The photographs demonstrate the evolving industrial impact on the community’s urban landscape underscoring the ability buildings, signage and structures have to give meaning to space and establish its identity. A free opening reception for both exhibitions will be from 6:30-8 p.m. Sept. 7.

The two exhibits act as a jumping off point for the year’s series of exhibitions, establishing the historic context and on-going relevance of the textile industry in the area. This reflection solicits a look forward to contemporary artists and designer inspired by current vocabulary and materials who are redefining the ideas of textiles, weaving and sewing processes, hand and machine labor, and the meaning behind the objects created in today’s society.

New York-to-Asheville, N.C., transplant Nava Lubelski, known for her stitched work, will headline the Rutledge Gallery Nov. 12-Jan. 18. Lubelski samples old material pieces and transforms them into canvasses that almost appear as abstract paintings when the viewer takes a step back. She often incorporates holes and stains into her canvasses, contrasting between an object’s former usefulness and its new life as contemporary art.

Upstairs in the Patrick Gallery, Libby O’Bryan draws on the notion of labor with her interactive installation, “The Factory Floor.” As visitors walk through the gallery, they will step onto a palette floor engaging multiple sewing machines to run. O’Bryan draws on her experience in apparel production to delve into the relationship between maker, machine and consumer. Both exhibitions will have an opening reception 6:30-8 p.m. Nov. 9.

Exhibits in February and March continue to examine the materiality of “textiles” as reflective form for cultural and ethnic identity.

In the Rutledge Gallery, Sonya Clark draws on her African-American and Caribbean roots as her exhibition centers on traditional ideas of weaving and braids, incorporating objects that connect to her personal narrative such as hair, a comb or piece of cloth.

In a video piece entitled “Scuffers,” Canadian artist Christine Kirouac shows students in London, Ontario, using camouflage fabric to make their own “fashion identity,” from tank tops to mini-skirts. Kirouac’s exhibition will run in the Patrick Gallery.

Winthrop University Galleries are currently closed but will reopen Aug. 13 with the hours of 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and closed on weekends and university holidays. All artist talks, exhibitions and receptions are free and open to the public.

For more information, call the Galleries at 803/323-2493 or e-mail Karen Derksen, Galleries director, at derksenk@winthrop.edu. Follow the Galleries online on Facebook or Twitter.

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