‘For Body and Soul’ exhibit at Strawn

by Kelly M. Gross

The Art Association of Jacksonville is pleased to present “For Body and Soul” exhibit, featuring wearable art by Pat Rued and contemporary art quilts by Pat Kroth, March 5-27 at The David Strawn Art Gallery. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, March 5 from 6-8 p.m. with a “Gallery Talk” by the artists starting at 6:30 p.m.

Pat Rued is a fiber artist from Deerfield. After working with leather for many years, Rued decided to turn to a medium that would give her more control of color and pattern choices. The work she creates is the result of much trial and error on the path to developing a style of her own. She strives to create unique garments and accessories that you will love to wear.

There are many steps involved in the completion of each piece. First, fabric dying and overdying is done by brushing on color or using shibori techniques on natural fibers. Further surface design is added using various paints, dyes, resists and discharge agents. Several techniques are usually used to achieve the desired effect. These can include folding, printing, stamping and stenciling. Rued often combines organic forms with more abstract patterning. Once the fabric sections for each piece are completed, they are cut and carefully sewn to make a classic garment shape that can be enjoyed for many years.

Pat Kroth is a contemporary art quilt maker from Verona, Wisconsin. Kroth starts her artistic process with gathering, making, and handling materials as this is an important element of her work. This process leads to the creation of a series of abstract fiber artworks, which include fiber fragments, repurposed fabrics, clothing, found objects and sheer overlays. Sometimes the surface vibrates with colorful candy wrappers and cast-off elements that surround her. Kroth enjoys assigning new meaning to found materials and she finds quiet satisfaction and beauty in the imperfect.

Kroth works spontaneously, in an improvisational manner. She creates entire surfaces using saturated color, texture and visual movement to explore various themes. Through energetic machine stitching, she truly feels that she is “painting” with fabric and thread. Combining unusual materials with machine and hand stitching enhances the work. She enjoys the multiplicity and ambiguity of meanings, which invite the viewer to look further than just the riotous surface of things.

Kroth recently started building larger, more site specific and socially reflective works. The playfulness in her approach sometimes belies more serious pondering. Her newest work has evolved from the process of gathering, making attempts to interpret the world and her place in it.

Gallery hours March 6-27: Sundays from 1-3 p.m. and Tuesdays through Saturdays from 4-6 p.m. The David Strawn Art Gallery is free and open to the public.

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