Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Grandma Moses Paintings Now at the Dayton Art Institute

Tom and I celebrated our fifty-fourth anniverary by going out to eat and then to the art museum to see American Sampler, Grandma Moses and the Handicraft Tradition.

Both of us enjoyed the show.  Tom had never seen crewelwork and was impressed by the beautiful pictures Anna Mary Robertson Moses (1860-1961)  made with worsted wool.  One crewelwork picture is on the cover of the flyer advertising the exhibit.  I scanned both the front and back so you can read about some of the upcoming special events associated with the exhibit.  Click to enlarge.

 Both of us enjoyed the farm scenes she painted. Tom was raised in the country and though I was raised in what would now be called a suburb, I had many aunts and uncles who lived on farms.  Every time we visited the farms, I did things I never did at home...played in the cornfields, jumped off the loft into mounds of straw. When I was six I even fell into a fresh cow pie.  I expect you know another name for cow pie.

Grandma Moses didn't begin painting until her hands were too gnarled to sew.  She used housepaint in the beginning and whatever she could find that she could paint on.  One of her first projects was painting on her wall because she ran out of wallpaper.  She was fond of using glitter on her winter scenes to give the snow the effect of sun shining on it.

I had a hard time deciding what to buy in the gift shop as a memento of the visit.  Even now I'm thinking, "If I go back, I'll buy the children's book with a spring poem by Robert Frost and pictures by Grandma Moses."  What I bought was a children's book about Grandma Moses.  I have about a dozen other books in this series.  They are inexpensive, have nice reproductions of the artist's work and give a brief overview of the artist and his or her work.  There are amusing cartoons to accompany the text as well. One of her paintings is on the cover. Click to enlarge.  These books are written and illustrated by Mike Venezia.

In the hall leading to the exhibit hall there were "thread paintings by Mary Borkowski, a Dayton folk art painter.  These were mostly silk embroidery on silk.  They are very different from Grandma Moses crewelwork but are still considered folk art because Mary Borkowski was untrained in the fine arts and had a unique vision just as Grandma Moses did.

The last section of the American Sampler exhibit includes text that explains how some of the embroidery stitches are made.  It also includes samplers made by young children and women  who used the samplers to decide what stitches to use for future sewing projects.  The samplers are another example of folk art.

The exhibit will be in Dayton until February 21, 2016.  I hope you live close enough to visit it.

1 comment:

  1. That is one impressive sculpture outside the building! Sounds like a good exhibit to visit. Happy Anniversary! 54 years that is an accomplishment! :)