The Contact features 30 of Ann Johnston’s large-scale quilts inspired by the California Sierra Nevada mountain range. The Sierra Nevadas are a place of power and fascination for many people who have experienced it. The term “contact” is used to describe the place where geologic units touch, and it’s an inescapable theme in Johnston’s quilts. Through this body of work, Johnston explores the sunlit white granite peaks, and the dark mines and machinery of the California Gold Rush. Her connection to the Sierra Nevada is strong—her family has held a mining claim near Tioga Pass since the 1800s—and it comes to life in the exhibition.
Johnston uses a broad array of literal, abstract, and purely imaginative imagery. Each quilt is designed and made from cloth that Ann Johnston has dyed, painted, or printed herself, and constructed using a range of construction techniques, some remaining as a whole cloth, others, pieced and appliquéd. These works demonstrate a mastery with which Johnston uses different patterns, textures, and processes in her fabrics to produce fascinating pieces that draw one in, powerful on their own and cohesive as a series.
Exhibition overview from museum website