Mary Hark: An Indigo Swatch Book
March 8 – May 13, 2017 • Community Gallery
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 9, 6-8 pm
From chalky sky blue to deep, muddy, blue-blacks, indigo dye sings with crisp pattern, carries rivers of fluid marks, or fills stunning fields of thick, rich, darkness. This blue palette is saturated with a compelling breath of emotional resonance that has been tapped by historic and contemporary textile makers the world over.
For more than 25 years, Mary Hark has been investigating this color and process in combination with flax and linen handmade papers, linen cloth, and other materials. This “swatch book” wall, opens Mary’s studio and shares a unique collection of blue remnants; evidence of a years-long love affair.
Complimenting the Swatch Book wall will be an exhibition of indigo dyed, stitch resist cotton fabrics that Mary has collected during research trips to West Africa.
Mary Hark, Associate Professor in Design Studies, teaches papermaking and textile design at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is invited to conduct workshops and lecture at Art Centers and Universities internationally. Hark is the proprietor of HARK! Handmade Paper where she produces limited editions of high quality handmade papers in collaboration with book designers and artists, as well as unique paper artworks that have been exhibited internationally. Her work can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Smithsonian Museum of African Art, the Ginsberg Book Arts Collection in Johannesburg, South Africa, and in many university special collections in the United States and Canada. In 2006 Hark received a Senior Fulbright Research Grant to Sub Saharan Africa, and continues to lead an initiative in Kumasi, Ghana, building the first hand papermill in West Africa capable of producing high-quality papers entirely from local botanicals. An artist committed to sustainable practice, Hark recently led a team in St. Paul, Minnesota, designing and producing 2000 beautiful handmade papers, entirely from urban bio and textile waste, that were used as placemats for CREATE: the Community Meal public art event (Seitu Jones). Hark received an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Iowa in Iowa City.