‘Yikes! Stripes’ opens Jan. 16

Jan 15th, 2009 | By | Category: Arts & Entertainment, Issue, January 15, 2009

Arresting, unsettling striped quilts light up the walls in the International Quilt Study Center and Museum. “Yikes! Stripes: Eye-Catching Visual Effects in Quilts,” on display Jan. 16 through April 5, features 16 quilts from the center’s collection.

Elizabeth Andrews, quilt studies graduate student in Textiles, Clothing and Design, designed the exhibition to show the striped textile surface from new vantage points. Visual, cultural, and historical accounts of the striped surface illuminate the unique nature of the stripe. Zebras, prison uniforms, flags and race cars all feature stripes. The exhibition explores the stripe as it relates to these examples and as it is used in quilting traditions from various cultures.

The quilts in this exhibition celebrate the eye-catching visual effects that makers create using stripes. Bold and flashy stripes adorn fast cars, caution signs and the hides of many animals, including zebras, tigers, skunks, chipmunks and many snakes, fish and frogs. Pinstriped suitings, wood grain and corduroy are ubiquitous examples of subtly striped surfaces. Throughout history and in cultures from every continent striped surfaces abound. The quilts illustrate the dynamic, appealing nature of the stripe.

It has been suggested that the striped surface calls for attention in a way that other surfaces don’t. Perhaps striped surfaces are more engaging because of their ambiguous nature. When examining a striped surface, the eye is confronted with an unclear relationship between foreground and background. The question of whether a zebra is a white animal with black stripes or a black animal with white stripes illustrates the unique intrigue of the stripe. This exhibition presents many stripes for viewing and calls to mind many more. The viewer is invited to ponder the stripe, its connotations, and its ambiguities.

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