Fragments, Fractals: Write It, Print It, Sew It

THE QUILT EXHIBIT (Photos by J. L. Martello)

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust presents Fragments, Fractals: Write It, Print It, Sew It, an exhibition of story quilts by artist Tina Williams Brewer. The exhibition is on view  now through Nov. 16, at the Trust’s 709 Penn Gallery. An opening reception took place Sept. 12 where Brewer led an artistic discussion that evening.
Brewer’s 10 quilts—with titles such as “Natural Migration,” “Cosmic Endeavors,” and “Rosetta Stone”—tell stories of the natural movement of migration, from a simple view of water migration to a more complicated visual approach to forced migration. The layered, overlapping and decorative imagery is achieved through quilting fabrics that have been printed with Brewer’s designs.
“Everything gets lost in the movement of migration,” Brewer said in this release by the Trust. “In order to simplify so that we may understand, there is a need to peel back the layers and explore the beginnings of the original water currents.”
Brewer worked on this series, combining her own inspiration with that of author John Wideman and poet Rachel Goldstein, merging their artistic expressions. “I used fragments of John Wideman’s ‘Cry In’ and Rachel Goldstein’s poetry to inspire my work,” she explained.
Brewer is known for her artistic exploration of African-American history and the personal experiences associated with it. She uses symbolism, textile and fabrics to create story quilts that are motivated by issues focusing on family, women and children, and the spirituality of the culture. Her work is part of the United States Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan’s permanent collection and has been displayed internationally at the United States Embassy in Ghana, as well as more than 50 major venues across the United States, including Tampa Museum of Art and Science, Tampa, Fla.; Heinz Regional History Center, Pittsburgh; African American Museum, Philadelphia; African American Museum, Dallas; Reginald Lewis Museum of African American Art in Baltimore; and Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington, W.Va.
In 2014 Brewer was named a Master Visual Artist for the Pittsburgh region and she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in 2009.  She is a member of the Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts Board of directors, is a member of the Fiber Arts Guild of Pittsburgh and the Women of Visions as well as an emeritus board member of Associated Artists of Pittsburgh.
Brewer earned a Bachelor of Arts from Columbus College of Art and Design.
The 709 Penn Gallery is a project of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. The gallery is located at 709 Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. Gallery Hours: Wed. & Thurs. 11 a.m.–6 p.m.; Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m.–8 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. The gallery is free and open to the public.
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has overseen one of Pittsburgh’s most historic transformations: turning a seedy red-light district into a magnet destination for arts lovers, residents, visitors, and business owners. Founded in 1984, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is the cultural and economic revitalization of a 14-block arts and entertainment/­resi­dential neighborhood called the Cultural District. The District is one of the country’s largest landmasses curated by a single nonprofit arts organization. A major catalytic force in the city, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a unique model of how public-private partnerships can reinvent a city with authenticity, innovation and creativity.
Using the arts as an economic catalyst, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has holistically created a world-renowned Cultural District that is revitalizing the city, improving the regional economy and enhancing Pittsburgh’s quality of life. Thanks to the support of foundations, corporations, government agencies and thousands of private citizens, the Cultural Trust stands as a national model of urban redevelopment through the arts.
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