Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Wonderful Review for Joan Schulze

Recently I presented an Artist Profile on West Coast artist Joan Schulze. Joan has just mounted a mid-career retrospective at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. The name of this show is Poetic License: A Retrospective by Joan Schulze. She kindly shared her work and some comments with me for the article.

Yesterday I received a note from Joan with links to two reviews of this exhibition. The first link is to an excellent blog called Venetian Red which is a very classy site featuring articles by more than one writer.

Link to Venetian Red: (You will need to scroll down the page to find the story)

This review was written by Liz Hager, a frequent contributor to this site, and it is one that I would love to have of my work and my efforts at some point. It a very refreshing piece as much for what it doesn't say as for what it does say. The writer talks about the importance of how Schulze has handled herself in her studio and her exploration of materials. I was very interested in the description of her fearless approach to working in a medium which can sometimes be somewhat oppressive.

Schulze has been working in a wide range of materials for some years and has been instrumental in breaking through to incorporate new materials and processes into her work. Hager points out the issue that I have seen before in regards to how the origins of innovations are often forgotten when the innovation is accepted by others and incorporated into their studio practice. Great point. It was great to see the examples she presented in the article of approaches to work from years past which we see now on a regular basis from other artists.

The second article was in the San Jose Mercury News.

This article was certainly nice as it was a full page story but it is more the standard newspaper review.

Hope you enjoy the links and go to your studios brave and powerful.


  1. Thank you Leslie. I have become a big fan and admirer of Joan. I appreciate your commenting.

  2. "No offense to Granny, but San Jose's Museum of Quilts and Textiles is pushing the boundaries of the fine art world. These are not quilts made to lie at the foot of the bed."

    Boy, if I had a dollar for every time reviews of quilt shows talk about Granny, I could take a limo to the airport and fly first class to see Joan Schulze's show. Is there any cliche more worn out (and offensive)??

  3. You nailed it. Somehow many of the people in the position to write about shows just don't know much about what has been and is happening in the world of machine and fabric and glue and paper and dye and copy machine etc. which have been being used for some time now with nary a thought of 'the bed'.

  4. Terry,
    I think Robert Rauschenberg dispelled the notion in 1955 that quilts were just for beds... Writing about art beyond clich├ęs requires specificity and that, in turn, requires an historical knowledge that some writers don't bother to acquire...

    Thanks for the nice words about Venetian Red, we are glad you found us. We certainly don't have all the answers, but one of the great things about writing for VR is that, in order to write thoughtful pieces, it does force us to constantly look and learn (discover).

    Textiles are a principal topic of interest on the blog, so look for more to come. In the meantime, you can always search in the category list under our category TEXTILES. . .

    And finally for future readers, the piece on Joan can always be found at this link:

  5. Hi Liz, Thank you for writing and thank you for writing so beautifully about Joan's work and textiles in general. Yes, the work of Rauschenberg and many others should have put the tired cliches out to pasture but they just keep popping back up. Venetian Red is excellent indeed! I recently read your article on Joan Mattera who I adore. Thank you for your wonderful comment and please come again.