In this exhibition, Cathy Fussell and I explore the word GROUND, both as a noun and as a verb. The word fits 2020, a year where the world’s population is grounded (sent to time-out) during COVID-19. On a personal level, I’ve felt ground to bits by my mother’s death and other challenges during the spring and summer of 2020. Those of us who are healthy feel fortunate to have the ground still beneath our feet and are grateful for feeling steady and well grounded. I’ve pondered metaphors about animals of the ground (cicadas, boll weevils, snakes, assassin bugs), as well as odd pandemic stories of lonely eels and drunk elephants. I’m inspired by Cathy’s work that often celebrates the ground’s quilted terrain through geographical renderings and river meanderings. Her work reminds me that the ground also is where we plant our seeds, and what grows from death and decay is often beautiful, is often a meadow.
Quilts are about history and art and politics and stories and patience and beauty and community and economics and place and expression and freedom and transition and family and warmth – and love. And they’re feminized and devalued. All that is why I’m so into quilts and quiltmaking.
While many fiber artists today create works that are overtly political, I prefer to make art that is celebratory. I celebrate the landscape, literature, the vast and yet minute complexities of this world we inhabit.
A fiber artist for more than 50 years, Cathy Fussell maintains a studio in Columbus, Georgia, where she specializes in making art quilts. In terms of theme and subject matter, Cathy’s work tends to fall into three general categories: Geography, Southern literature, and American modernism.
Public collections holding Cathy’s work include The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Koch Collection, New York, New York (twelve pieces), and the Fulton County (Atlanta) Public Art Collection (two pieces).
In 2016 Cathy was commissioned by The Congressional Club, Washington, DC, to make a quilt for First Lady Michelle Obama. The result is “Apollo Splashdown Revisited – Homage to Alma Woodsey Thomas,” which was presented to Mrs. Obama at The Congressional Club’s Annual First Lady’s Luncheon, Washington, DC, May 12, 2016. The work is in the (forthcoming) Barack Obama Presidential Library Collection, Chicago, Illinois.
Cathy’s work has been exhibited in numerous juried or curated exhibitions and is held in many private collections.
Blair Hobbs likes to find weird surprises in the mundane. Primarily, she finds bright oddities in plants, animals, and the human body. Each canvas is a box of assembled visual cues that form an imagined narrative, and many of those narratives range from bittersweet (or just bitter) to humorous. Each drawing is a paper cut-out glued or sewn to canvas. Other materials include acrylic paints, colored pencils, ink, mulberry papers, sequins, glitter, thread, gold dust, duct tape, candy wrappers, and broken Christmas tree balls. Hobbs has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Michigan and teaches undergraduate Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi. She lives in Oxford, MS, with her husband, John T Edge and son, Jess.