July 14th - September 9th, 2023
Assiduous (adj) : showing great care or perseverance; constant in application or effort; working diligently at a task; unremitting
Assiduous unites seven artists, spanning various mediums and conceptual frameworks, under the shared umbrella of the titular word. It exemplifies the sincere act of repetition, the deliberate care embedded in every application, and the unwavering attention to intricate details that these artists infuse into their work. The smallest thread and the subtlest ridge showcase an unwavering commitment to capturing the power of detail. Embraced is the significance of minuscule marks, realizing that they form the very foundation of a larger image.
Within this exhibition, there is an unspoken connection that emerges—a connection rooted in meticulous attention, quietly beckoning the community and patiently awaiting their response. It honors the legacy of knowledge passed down through generations, while also celebrating the act of reclaiming and repurposing that knowledge. Assiduous is an invitation to explore the ties that bind us, the quiet whispers of connection, and the profound impact that arises when hands move purposefully, shaping something meaningful, piece by piece.
Andrea Dolter, Chelsea Kaiah, Wendy Kowynia, Jennifer Pettus, Melissa Pickering, Shelly Sommer, Rebecca Vaughan
Revisit the Artist Talk
Fiber crafts were passed down to me by the women in my family like treasured family heirlooms, lending to a melding of history and tradition in my work. As a deeply sentimental person, I piece together sacred and lost textile heirlooms evoking memories of a past both personal and collective. Moments of absent recollection arise through the delicate pattern of a piece of lace once belonging to a curtain in a childhood home or a cloth reminiscent of a tea towel once adorning a grandmothers kitchen stove. Built from sourced materials, my work is reminiscent of a time when old worn out clothing was repurposed into rugs and quilts – no scrap being too small to continue to be useful becoming a vehicle for nostalgia. The past life, present.
Andrea Dolter works across textile and printmaking media, finding new ways to explore fiber though printmaking and print through traditional textile practices. Raised with a passion for drawing and creating instilled in her by her parents and taught to sew by the women in her family as a child in Iowa, Andrea connects to a history that is both personal and shared through the traditions of craft with the materials and processes she uses.
Receiving her BFA from Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2014, Andrea primarily focused on printmaking and drawing. She was reintroduced to working with textiles when she studied abroad in Warsaw, Poland at Akademia Sztuk Pięknych, influencing her printmaking practices ever since. Andrea currently lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and works from her studio at Var Gallery & Studios.
CHELSEA KAIAH is a passionate activist for Native American rights, awareness, and sustainability. She implements traditional practices of pine needle weaving, beading, porcupine quilling, and hide work, incorporating her interdisciplinary skills to meld a perspective of culture and artistic practice. Storytelling has always been an integral part of her upbringing, connecting her to her community, heritage, and hopes for the future. Chelsea’s work becomes more than tradition, it becomes a cultural experience.
Chelsea Kaiah (b. Northern Ute Reservation, UT) received her BFA from Watkins College of Art and Design. In 2022, she was awarded the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation LIFT grant for Early Career Support for Native Artists Award, Portland, OR and The Greene Fellowship, Denver, CO. She has been an artist-in-residence at the Native Arts Artist-in Residence, Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO and the Redline Contemporary Art Center, Denver, CO.
My work explores ideas through the making of forms by way of thread and loom. I push the boundaries of what textiles want to do, what they have done historically. I ask new things of them.
My favorite tool is a simple floor loom. It has neither motor nor plug. There is nothing modern about it. It is, in fact, an ancient tool. When modern humans engage with this ancient technology, they are initiated into an ancient thread of history and knowledge. The longer I weave, the more impressed I am by the knowledge embedded in this technology.
A Colorado resident since the age of three, Wendy Kowynia received her BA from Smith College, Northampton MA. Her work has been exhibited at numerous juried and invitational shows nationwide. Her work is currently represented by W Gallery in Steamboat Springs, CO, and Space Gallery in Denver.
My work is an ongoing examination of implied function and mutable bodies. I combine materials and techniques from fashion, craft, and fine art in unexpected ways to create objects that are only reminiscent of other things. By unraveling structures and remaking embellishments, I hope to blur the relationship between aesthetics and utility, undercutting the value systems that frame our everyday lives. My work also invites exploration through tactile details and playful clues that encourage the viewer to reconsider their own assumptions about art and representation.
Fray/ed is an exploration of the concept/definition of the word “fray”. Clothes fray from age, ongoing strain frays nerves, societal structures are fraying, there is a fray of activity, don’t jump into the fray.
On daily walks in her neighborhood in Florida during the pandemic, Melissa encountered palm leaves, or fronds, that had fallen to the ground, decaying, with frayed edges. Through these objects, she understood that her own nerves were being pulled apart from loneliness & loss, watching the news, seeing evidence of fray/ed everywhere.
Fray/ed is an attempt to capture a state of transformation in the artist, in nature, and the world. It strives to both pull at the thread as well as stitch pieces back together. Fray/ed is witnessing the burden we bear in the pain of being human in chaotic times. Yet, whatever was whole cannot be put back together again the way it was before. Fray/ed is part of the circle of life, where whole turns to decay turns to whole again.
Melissa Pickering is a printmaker based in Boulder, CO. She received a BA in Literature from CU Boulder and an MA from Naropa University. She has studied fine art since high school and printmaking since 2008 and was an artist in residence at The Boulder Creative Collective with the 2019-2020 cohort. She focuses primarily in abstract nature, inner exploration, and social justice messages using relief and intaglio printmaking techniques, such as monotype, collagraph, embossing, and chine collé.
As a science communicator, I have the job of translating the grim results of climate studies into news stories and media. As the reality of climate change becomes ever more apparent in the Northern Hemisphere, that task becomes freighted with despair. This quilt was made in response to the human impact documented in Syvitski, et al., 2021 (doi 10.1038/s43247-020-00029-y). Our imprint is so heavy that even if we vanish as a species, it will be carved into the very air and layers of Earth for all time. This piece, with its surface bound in layers that originate in oil, is a tiny window into that overwhelming state. Facing it is like looking into a pool of oil with a faint, broken reflection of yourself.
This experiment in reclaiming discarded materials is woven from VHS tape, backed with cotton/linen scraps, and minimally hand quilted.
Rebecca Vaughan was born and raised in Denver, CO. She has lived in the Netherlands and Canada. She received her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University and BFA cum laude in Sculpture at the University of Colorado, Boulder. To more fully pursue her art career, she departed working in non-profits and has instructed part-time for the Kansas City Art Institute, MWSU and RMCAD.
Rebecca Vaughan is a member of ArtNauts, an art collective which exhibits only in countries experiencing conflict and contention. She previously served as the Artistic Director of PlatteForum, a non-profit which hosts artists-in-residence from all over the world. While in residence, the artists are paired with under-resourced youth to create artworks which address topics of social justice and community. She recently served as the Program Director for the Art Students League of Denver and was the Chair of Fine Arts and Head of Sculpture at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design. She held a residency as a Resource Artist at Redline Contemporary Art Center from 2011-2013. Previously she worked as the project manager for Ann Hamilton’s 2008 Circles of O performance, and assisted in other projects in Dialog: City, a city- wide arts event for the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver.
She recently exhibited her work in a solo show at the 39th Sarajevo Winter Arts Festival in Bosnia and Herzigovina and will be included in Redline’s 15X Anniversary exhibition at the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art. She has shown widely in the Colorado region as well as in New York, Palestine, Mexico, Canada, China and Columbia. Her work has been in publications including the Chicago Art Journal and KnitKnit. Vaughan has received state grants from the Colorado Council on the Arts and Humanities and the Ohio Arts Council.