Montclair Art Museum: Experience Yarn Bomb in the Garden and New Directions in Fiber Art

Trees sporting colorful sweaters? Montclair Art Museum is calling it their Yarn Bomb. As a prelude to their current exhibition “New Directions in Fiber Art” an appeal on social media went out to the community of knitters and textile artists to enrobe the museum garden. And they came, in full force. You can’t help but smile at the colors and patterns when walking by this imaginative exhibit which for me, sparks joy.

Helen R. Kaar (b. 1946)
MADISON Eternity is in Love with the Productions of Time, 2016
Quilted cotton and wool 73 x 49 in.
Collection of the artist

Inside, the collection of contemporary fiber art pieces is fresh, provocative and engaging – each piece beckoning a closer look. The curated collection is pure New Jersey. All of the artists in this show call New Jersey home.

This juried show consists of works which contrast traditional fibers of all kinds, with very contemporary materials and themes.

As MAM’s exhibition notes state, “Putting forth the discoveries of their world and times, these artists engage the expressive potential of ancient methods with contemporary voices. All pieces selected really “pushed the boundaries” reflecting various techniques, and were created since 2015. 

Woolpunk (b. 1971) JERSEY CITY
Blue Carts & Barbed Wired, 2018
Digital image on vinyl banner with needlework
48 x 72 in.
Collection of the artist

This wonderful exhibition of fiber art is defined by multiple colors, textures, fabrics, threads, yarn, rope, textiles of every origin, mixed with paint, metal, wood ceramics and more – incorporating themes of mythology, history, politics, the environment, family and – whatever resonates with the observer.

The artists’ notes on each work are particularly interesting and thought provoking.

Jan Huling (b. 1953) JERSEY CITYThe Gown: Affinity, 2017Mixed media62 x 59 x 81 in.Collection of the artist

The centerpiece of the show is a stunning beaded bridal gown replete with three generations of family memorabilia and beads covering every inch of fabric.

As this year’s host of the annual New Jersey Arts Exhibition, MAM curators put a new spin on the Arts and Crafts category by calling for works of fiber art. They were overwhelmed at the number of submissions they received (500+) from what director Lora Urbanelli jokingly referred to as the underground fiber movement.

Deborah Guzmán Meyer (b. 1977) MONTCLAIR
L.E., 2018
Digital photograph printed on cotton, hand embroidery
18 x 12 in.
Collection of the artist

Two Montclair fiber artists were selected by the jury – Judy Beck and Deborah Guzman Meyer, also local Glen Ridge artist Victoria Hanks, and from West Orange, Shannon Linder.

This is easily one of the most accessible, intriguing and family-friendly contemporary art shows MAM has hosted. Don’t miss it.

Amanda Thackray (b. 1982) and Diana Palermo (b. 1987) NEWARKCRISPR 2, 2018Sumi ink and watercolor on woven paper, yarn7 X 360 in.Collection of the artists

New Directions in Fiber Art – through June 16. Montclair Art Museum, 3 South Mountain Ave., Montclair, 973-746-5555

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