These two pictures should be side by side, but it seems blogspot won't allow it. The upperleft is called "Concerned" and the lower one is call "Hitting Bottom". They are from an amazing work of art by Leni Weiner, a textile artist from New York City who gave two wonderful talks at the Bayberry Guild this past week.
Leni began as a traditional quilt artist and also a professional photographer. Then she honed her skills and gradually cut away all the surroundings until she is, in this newest (I think) work showing only people sitting on a bench. They are in ones and twos and the whole secret is their body language -- you don't even see the bench except it is shownce without people siting on it. These are all real people although often devoid of distinguishing facial feature and often in clothing that is different colors than in the original photos Leni took (over a long periods of time. (There are about fifty individuals. As you can see, this is quilting, it is textile art. On her web site she has the set of people, which, on sides she showed when she gave a talk, was displayed in an art gallery in Taiwan. And will be shown elsewhere.
I was so fascinated by Leni's bio that I went to both the evening and day meeting of the guild (which I've never done before) and I'm glad I did. It's been a long time since a billiant art quilter, turned pure artist,has caught my attention. She gave an outline of her personal progression from traditional quilt, to portrait quilts (has written a book that I own) and along her journey to these very pure statements about people where one doesn't even need to see the bench to understand what they are doing and grasp the message from their body language alone. She spoke also of technique and of her understanding of using hue as the secret to good portraits.
In short, I was blown away by this woman's brilliance. She hopes to publish a book of the bench sitters and if she does I certainly want a copy. I wish I could see the set "for real."
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!