Linda Day Clark, The Gee's Bend Photographs
On view September 16 – December 14, 2008.
In conjunction with Gee’s Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt, the Museum will present an installation of approximately 24 photographs by Baltimore photographer Linda Day Clark, who has traveled to Gee’s Bend annually since 2002 when she made her first visit on assignment for The New York Times. Clark’s photographs capture the richness of the rural landscape as well as the strong sense of community forged by the women who are carrying on the quilt-making tradition in Gees Bend. One image, titled The Road to Paradise shows the single, unpaved country lane that leads to a vista known as Paradise Point among locals, a narrow track of red-clay earth surrounded by pine trees. Also included are powerful photographic portraits of the artists such as Mary Lee Bendolph, Creola Pettway, Arlonzia Pettway, and Annie Mae Young, whose work is featured in the Gee’s Bend exhibition.
Currently a Professor of Fine Art at Maryland's Coppin State University, Clark received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art and her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Delaware. Her work has been featured in the book "Reflections in Black: A History of African American Photography 1840-1999" by Deborah Willis Kennedy, and is in collections including the Baltimore Museum of Art, the James E. Lewis Museum of Art, Morgan State University the Maryland Historical Society and the Smithsonian Institution.
Quilt Stories: The Ella King Torrey Collection of African American Quilts and other Recent Quilt Acquisitions
On view August 16, 2008 through February, 2009
While Gee’s Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt can be seen this fall in the Dorrance Galleries, the Spain Gallery in the Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building will feature a complementary installation of African American quilts from the Ella King Torrey Collection. A recent gift to the Museum, this extraordinary collection includes 13 works by leading Southern quilt makers. Among its highlights are an appliquéd “word quilt” by the Mississippi artist Sarah Mary Taylor (1916-2004) and one of her “hand” quilts, a version of which was commissioned for the film The Color Purple. Two quilts are by Taylor’s mother, Pearlie Posey (1894–1984), who in 1980 followed her daughter’s lead and began creating rainbow-hued figurative appliqué quilts. A boldly-colored quilt by Arester Earl (1892–1988) of Georgia is constructed of individually padded and pieced squares sewn together, a style unique to the artist. Several are by artists from the celebrated community of quilters in Gees Bend, Alabama.
A Philadelphia native, the late Ella King Torrey was a leading figure in the art world, having served as director of Pew Fellowships in the Arts and President of the Art Institute of San Francisco prior to her death in 2003. Ms. Torrey assembled her quilt collection between 1981 and 1983 while conducting fieldwork on African American quilt-making with Maud Southwell Wahlman. Several of the quilts were included in one of the first exhibitions of its kind, Ten Afro-American Quilters, held at the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture in 1983.
In conjunction with the Gee’s Bend exhibition, the Museum will offer a full schedule of programming and related events throughout the autumn. Also in the community, Philadelphia’s Arden Theatre Company will present the stage play “Gee’s Bend,” written by Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder and directed by Eleanor Holdridge (October 9 – November 30, 2008). Visitors to the Museum may bring a ticket stub from the Arden Theatre’s production of “Gee’s Bend” to receive a $2 discount on general admission during the course of the exhibition. The Arden will offer a $5 discount on adult tickets to any performance of “Gee’s Bend” while supplies last to anyone who brings a ticket stub from the exhibition to the box office, or mentions the discount when ordering by phone at (215) 922-1122.