color/form: Martha Clippinger

A Block Gallery exhibition curated by Ashlynn Browning

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Artwork Artist Statement About the Artist


Martha Clippinger
Machine pieced and hand quilted fabrics
69" x 62"

Martha Clippinger
Hand-dyed woven wool, woven by Agustín Contreras López and
Licha González Ruin
77 1⁄2” x 50”

Martha Clippinger
Hand-dyed woven wool, woven by Agustín Contreras López and
Licha González Ruiz
77 1⁄2” x 50”

Artist Statement

The intersection of fine art and craft has long been an interest of mine, and in recent years, the textile traditions of weavings and quilts have provided fertile ground for me to consider geometry and color relationships. 

In 2014, I began an ongoing collaboration with weavers Licha González Ruiz and Agustín Contreras López of Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico to create tapetes (Spanish for “rugs”).  The warps and wefts of the woven tapete structure inspire designs composed of horizontals and verticals, and the intense hues of the woolen yarns, hand dyed by Licha and Agustín, contribute to the works’ highly saturated palettes. 

I use gouache and watercolor studies as a jumping off point for the tapetes. I often select the rug’s colors in person, based on the dyed yarn that they have available in their workshop. This frequently leads to shifts in color from the original design, but it is the observation of color relationships that engages and stimulates me throughout all of my art making processes.

My quiltmaking incorporates a similar process of observing “readymade” colors whereby I gather reclaimed fabrics, study their colors and consider potential pairings, and then piece them together. The construction of the quilts is much more improvisatory than the tapetes, which I design but do not weave.  The resulting compositions present rhythmic geometric arrangements of varied colors, textures, and patterns where the fabrics’ origins contribute to narratives and histories behind each quilt.

Anni Albers’s discussion of the “pliable plane” and textiles relationship to architecture inspires these works. That they may function as floor or bed coverings, or as wall hangings creates an open-endedness that I love. I enjoy seeing my work function in both realms, for it blurs the borders and flattens the hierarchies between art and craft. 

- Martha Clippinger

About the Artist

headshot of artist Martha Clippinger

Martha Clippinger (b. 1983, Columbus, Georgia) received her BA from Fordham University and her MFA from Rutgers University. Recent solo exhibitions include Translations, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens; Two Sides/ Dos Lados, Institute 193; Off-Kilter, Hodges Taylor; Hodge Podge Lodge, The Columbus Museum; Colorplay, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. Her work has been featured in The Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, Burnaway, and Architectural Digest. Clippinger is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including a 2018 Arts/Industry at Kohler Co., 2017 Durham Arts Council Grant in Craft, 2014 American Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase Award, and 2013 Fulbright-Garcia Robles research grant completed in Oaxaca, Mexico. She has been a resident artist at the MacDowell Colony, the Edward Albee Foundation, and the Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation. Her work is in public collections, including the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Duke University, and The Columbus Museum. Clippinger is represented by Elizabeth Harris Gallery in New York and Hodges Taylor in Charlotte. She lives and works in Durham, North Carolina.

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Stacy Bloom Rexrode
Curator of Exhibitions and Collections, Raleigh Arts

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