Moment of Pure Seeing
July 29 - August 28, 2011
Lowell was once the place for manufacturing textiles, but now it is a destination for textile art. Venues range from the American Textile History Museum to the New England Quilt Museum. This summer, the list includes Moment of Pure Seeing, a mixed media textile art exhibit of work by artists Linda Branch Dunn and Sonja Lee-Austin at the Loading Dock Gallery opening July 29. Dunn and Lee-Austin have been creating textile art in Lowell for many years. Lee-Austin opened Friends Fabric Art with her mother, Ann Lee, in downtown Lowell in June 2002. Dunn was among the first artists to join Lowell's Western Avenue Studios when it opened in 2005. Both artists continue to create their art in Lowell at their studios at Western Avenue Studios.
Dunn works primarily with abandoned textiles. Using these as her canvas, she layers dye, paint, paper, and fabric. Images include her own drawings, as well as found text and personal photographs. The resulting pieces range from icon-like miniatures to large wall quilts. In Moment of Pure Seeing, Dunn focuses on the change brought with age. "I work regularly with the very old now. Listening to them reminds me how short and intense our lives are." Her work explores the interconnections between nature, life, and memory.
For Lee-Austin, creating art is a form of meditation. "My mind stops incessantly talking while I create art. I focus on what I am creating, what I am seeing." In Moment of Pure Seeing, Lee-Austin exhibits a combination of art quilts and mixed media pieces. For her art quilts she starts with photographs she took of peaceful, inspiring places like Glacier Bay, Alaska or the Boston Public Garden. She prints these onto fabric and uses them to create art quilts. The quilts are enhanced with hand-stitching. Lee-Austin's mixed media pieces are more whimsical meditations. She plays with branches and wire to create leaf-like shapes which she weaves and wraps with threads, ribbons, and other materials.
Moment of Pure Seeing invites the viewer to a place where rushing is not required, to contemplate what is meaningful and significant in each day.