September 20 – December 20, 2015
As the third generation in her family to work as a textile artist, Debra Smith’s fascination with the medium of fabric was instilled at a young age. Though this history strongly influences her work, Smith pushes beyond stereotypes associated with textiles as craft and that of “women’s work”. Through meticulous construction incorporating both vintage and contemporary fabrics she infuses the work with air, movement and depth. Expressing an emotion or a moment in time, she finds the end result similar to painting, drawing and poetry. These new works for Smith continue to explore color and pattern on an even larger scale.
Pursuing her interest in fashion and textiles, Debra Smith studied at the Italian Academy of Fashion & Design; Lorenzo de Medici in Florence Italy before receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Kansas City Art Institute with a major in Fiber in 1993 and an Associate Degree in Applied Science from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2002. In 2012 Smith was honored as one of the Women to Watch 2012: Focus on Fiber & Textiles from The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC
Her work has been shown throughout the US and abroad for the past two decades, including solo & group exhibitions: Rijswijk Textile Biennial, Museum Rijswijk, Netherlands, DUSK Art Exchange, Look & Listen Gallery, Saint Chamas, France (2015), Shifting Territory, Haw Contemporary, Kansas City (2014), Spring Revival, Markel Fine Art, NYC (2013), Release of Time, Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art (2012), In-between Spaces/ New work, Roswell Museum & Art Center, Roswell, NM (2010), Looking to The Left, Julie Saul Gallery, NYC (2008), Sense of Presence, Davidson Gallery, Brisbane, Australia (2004), Celestial Navigation, Vancouver, BC (2002) Debra Smith is represented by Haw Contemporary, Kansas City, Missouri.
VINTAGE AMERICAN QUILTS COLLECTED BY ELIZABETH WILSON OF ASIATICA
Elizabeth Wilson opened a unique retail store in Kansas City more than three decades ago, creating one-of-a-kind garments from vintage Japanese kimono fabrics. Contemporary Japanese artisanal fabrics and other luxurious textiles complement her vintage fabric collection today. Elizabeth is attracted to bold, graphic patterns wherever they may appear, geographical boundaries aside (Japan, Peru, India). Some years ago she and her husband moved to the country near Weston, Missouri. Elizabeth began to look at quilts, collecting those that were graphically strong and striking in color. Part of her collection appears in this exhibit.
Although these quilts were collected solely for their beauty, an inherent history resides within each. It is no longer possible to know the names of the makers of these quilts, but their identities endure in the work they created. The design and color selection of each piece reveal the maker’s creativity and inner self.