Monday, August 11, 2014

Today in Art: What Would Woody Say?

Today the Connecticut Fiber Arts Collective, a vibrant art quilt group of which I am a member, mounted a Woody Guthrie-themed show in the back gallery at Hartford's Theaterworks.

Our show was conceived and designed to correspond with Woody Sez, a musical production on the Depression-era troubadour whose wandering ways and everpresent guitar inspired a long line of  blue-jeaned American singers from Bob Dylan to Bruce Springsteen...and whose social commentary informs the conscience of generations.

Check out the Theaterworks production:

Here's one example of the work we hung today, Toni Torres' American Troubadour.  Wow. 

And how about Carol Eaton's The Plains, showing an empty windswept kind of place like Texas or Oklahoma, where Woody grew up and came of age:

Carol Vinick has Woody singing at a union rally:

and Linda Woods shows us a Depression-era jalopy:

Karen Loprete depicted one of Woody's songs, Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow Tree:
My own piece, What Would Woody Say? juxtaposes illegal Depression-era travels in boxcars--and the hardships that compelled people to live that way--with the contemporary flood of young people from Central America entering our country as they flee drug-related violence and anarchy. 
In each corner of this map of the United States, I've juxtaposed photos of illegal rail travel in the 30s with those of people coming illegally into the country now:

The map of the country is sewn onto a background of headlines about today's Central American immigration, printed on red.  Around the perimeter of the map and the blocks of headlines, I've attached the words to This Land is Your Land.  When it gets to the following verse, I trail those words right across the map to a photo of Woody singing them out from the top of a boxcar:

"In the shadow of the steeple, I saw my people.  By the relief office, I seen my people.  As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking, 'was this land made for you and me?'"

 I mounted it all on ticking, some of it really old vintage ticking, to give the piece a Depression era/jailhouse/orphanage look.

It took us a couple of hours to get the show up.  Here's the hanging crew:

L-R Linda Woods, Diane Cadrain, Carol Vinick, and Antonia Torres.

Our full complement of CFAC members was not present for the hanging today, but we all hope to have a reception for our show,  in conjunction with one of the free hootnnanys following the Sunday matinees. If  we do that, we'll let you know!

If you're planning to go to Woody Sez at Theaterworks, stop by the back lobby and see our work!

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