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Lenore Tawney, Meditations: Weavings, Collages and Assemblages

April 2 – May 31, 1997


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Meditations: The Weavings, Assemblages and Collages of Lenore Tawney traces the artist's evolution from her earliest weavings to her more recent work comprising of assemblages and collages which incorporate textiles.

Lenore Tawney revolutionized and elevated fiber art with her weavings. After mastering traditional weaving techniques at the Institute of Design, Chicago with Marli Ehrman, and the Penland School of Crafts, Penland, North Carolina with Martta Taipale, Tawney began to experiment with open warp weavings. Her open warp weavings created with linens, wools and silks of contrasting weights and textures “juxtaposed areas of plain weave and/or laid in designs with large areas of unwoven warp.” Tawney continued to break boundaries by hanging her irregular shaped weavings as sculpture away from the wall and integrating elements found in nature like shells or feathers into the compositions.

In 1964, while continuing with her weavings, Tawney began creating collages and assemblages made from objects that had been carefully collected, gathered and preserved in her studio. Tawney states “when I’m working, whatever I want is always within reach” and often what is in reach is a fragile egg shell, a pebble, a pressed flower petal, a page from a rare manuscript or an animal bone. Influenced by eastern philosophies and religions, Tawney’s works have been called “altars of meditations” for their spirituality.

Lenore Tawney has completed major public commissions around the world and has received numerous awards of distinction including the American Craft Council’s Gold Medal in 1987. Since 1949, Tawney has actively exhibited including a 1990 retrospective at The American Craft Museum, New York and The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. She is represented in numerous museum collections including The Art Institute of Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.