21st CENTURY ART, C.E. - B. C.

...the geometry is the light...


Lenore Tawney

"I become timeless when I work with fiber. Each line, each knot is a prayer..."

In Fields of Light, 1975, linen, 9 x 8 feet, 4 1/2 inches

"By inventing the means to free weaving from the boundaries of the loom, [Tawmey] created fiber sculpture that hangs freely in space. ... She weaves, hypnotized by the gestures of her own hand, benevolently ruled by her materials. ... She depends upon an ancient medium while exploring radically new formats. " Janet Kardon, Director of the American Crafts Museum

"As in all Tawney's work, the past confronts the present, the East the West, the mundane the visionary... she produces hangings that vary from intimate fragility to majestic power. Areas of transparency often permeate more solidly woven sections, thus allowing light to act both as a visual and symbolic force." Katherine Kuh

Tau, 1974, linen, 6 2/3 x 9 feet.

"Throughout the work, Tawney's intention is the same -- to represent what is not seen , to express the essence. Frequently, she does this through the use of basic, universal symbols such as the circle within the square (representing the unity of self) or the cross (representing the meeting of opposites and the point at which linear and eternal time meet). The surfaces of ["Tau" and "In Fields of Light"] are interrupted only by slits in the tapestry that reinforce their strong geometry, and form and color are distilled to their essence. On this scale, the viewer is literally enveloped 'in fields of light.'" Kathleen Nugent Mangan, from the catalogue for Tawney's Exhibit at the Stedelijk Musuem, Amsterdam, 1996

"I'm following the path of the heart." Tawney says, "I don't know where the path is going."

The Crossing, 1998, waxed linen, 96 x 48 x 24", photograph by George Ermi

"The crossing: the point at which Energy is transformed, day into night, positive into negative. Prayer is transformation, the point at which Energy changes..." C. Vicuna 1998

from Lenore Tawney: Signs on the Wind, Postcard Collages, p. 47, to Jack Lenor Larsen, photograph by George Erml


Tawney's work has recently been exhibited at: The Smithsonian, Renwick Gallery, Washington D.C.; Cleveland Museum of Art; The Art Institute of Chicago; the American Craft Museum, NYC; Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NY and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, all of which have her works in their permanent collections. "Lenore Tawney, A Retrospective, American Craft Museum" was published in 1990 by Rizzoli. Lenore Tawney: Signs on the Wind, Postcard Collages" was published by Pomeganate in 2002.

Images Copyright © 1999 Lenore Tawney

Texts Copyright © 1999 by the individual authors and photographers

21st Century Art, C.E. - B.C., A Context

Copyright © Jan Haag 1999

Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: jhaag@u.washington.edu