Dancing in the Streets, 2010, by Carole Harris. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)
HANCOCK -- "Improvisations," an exhibition of handmade quilts by Detroit artist Carole Harris, is featured at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock, through Sept. 11, 2010.
A closing reception for the artist will take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9, at the gallery. Harris will present a lecture at 7:15 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
Harris will be on the Finlandia University campus Sept. 9 to 11 to work with the university's Fiber Arts and Fashion Design majors.
Filled with saturated color and complex patterns, the dense layering of patterns and the repetition of materials that Harris employs in her non-traditional quilts and tapestries are evocative of the rhythms, energy and movement found in African and African-American music, particularly blues and jazz.
"I try to think of my work as the visualization of the music that inspires me," notes Harris.
Rhythm-a ning, 2009, by Carole Harris.
Harris's visual vocabulary comes from a mixture of traditional quilt patterns and her own imagery, impressions and experiments. Her art is composed of hundreds of richly colored fabrics which are cut, overlaid, appliquéd, pieced and quilted.
"Quilts are like paintings, full of color, texture, and design," Harris says. "I try to create energy in both a spontaneous (improvisational) and an organized way -- much as a jazz musician will take a theme and riff on it until it is unrecognizable, while always maintaining control."
Harris's work has been exhibited in museums and galleries nationally and internationally, including the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Art and Design in New York City; and in Europe and Japan.
Harris earned her B.F.A. degree in interior design at Wayne State University. She is president of Harris Design Group, LLC, an interior design firm which she founded in 1976.
Harris also has a strong commitment to community service, education and arts advocacy. She has served on the boards of Inside Out Literary Arts, African Renaissance Theatre, Pewabic Pottery, Wayne State University Board of Visitors, and the Board of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
The Finlandia University Gallery is in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 4 p.m.; or by appointment. Please call 906-487-7500 for more information.