Berlo exhibit

Berlo: Striped Kimono and Obi


Janet Catherine Berlo


January 29 - February 18, 2008


Kimono Quilts 2004-2007

The Art & Music Gallery
Ground Floor, Rush Rhees Library, University of Rochester



Artist reception: Tuesday, January 29, 2008 5-6:30pm

Berlo: Chrysanthemum Haori


The wall quilts featured in this exhibit form a related body of works made within the last four years. They take their inspiration not only from the shape of Japanese kimono, but the practice of hanging kimono on racks, so that even in repose they serve as objects of aesthetic contemplation. In addition obi (sashes for kimono and other wrapped garments) are the visual inspiration for semi-abstract patterns of sashes flying through space.


Like many quilters working today, Berlo is influenced by a host of sources. Here, she uses a mixture of Japanese, Japanese-inspired, and other ethnic textiles. Both Japanese and Guatemalan weavers make fabric known as kasuri or ikat, in which lengths of thread are dyed in particular patterns before weaving, and then carefully strung on the loom so that these patterns will emerge in the weaving. Using such fabric, one of the works plays with the Japanese concept of “ranru”, which literally means “rags”  but refers to the unintentional art created by patching old and worn garments.


Janet Catherine Berlo is Professor of Art History and Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester. She is also a quilter, the author of a memoir entitled Quilting Lessons, and co-curator of Wild By Design: 200 Years of Innovation and Artistry in American Quilts, on exhibit at the Memorial Art Gallery from Jan. 20 - March 16, 2008.

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