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2022 McKnight Fiber Artist Fellows: Moira Bateman & Blair Treuer

Fellowship Period:
January 1, 2022 – December 31, 2022

"Watershed" by Moira Bateman, 2022 McKnight Fiber Artist Fellow
"A Lesson from the Chipmunks" and "Isaac" by Blair Treuer, 2022 McKnight Fiber Artist Fellow

Moira Bateman

Moira Bateman creates assemblages from waxed silk, stained with waterway sediments. Her chosen fabrics are soaked for days, months, and even years in the waters, mud, and sediments of rivers, lakes, and bogs of Minnesota. Past collaborative projects with authors, poets, theater makers, and scientists have monitored and documented the conditions of Minnesota’s watersheds. Bateman’s work has been exhibited across region including the Minnesota Museum of Arts, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona. By Way of Water was presented as a solo installation at the Bowery Gallery in New York City in 2019, and her work was recently featured in a virtual exhibition at the Integral Museum of Akademgorodok, Novosibirsk, Siberia. She holds a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Minnesota. Currently, her studio is located in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District in the Casket Arts building.

moirabateman.com

Read more about Moira and her work in this insightful interview with ecoartspace

Blair Treuer

Blair Treuer is a storyteller from rural northern Minnesota, who paints with fabric and draws with thread – beginning with blankets for her children’s participation in Native American ceremony, to her current series’ of portraits that explore intimate and spiritual aspects of life. Her work both celebrates and juxtaposes her white American culture and her husband and family’s traditional indigenous culture, to address a range of challenging topics. Treuer’s award winning works have been exhibited at numerous venues across the country and internationally, including the Bloomington Art Center, the MacRostie Art Center in Grand Rapids, MN, Yeiser Art Center, Paducah, KY, Art Center Sarasota, FL, O’Hanlon Center for the Arts, Mill Valley, CA, Yellowstone Museum of Art, Billings, MT, and the Art3 Paris Expo and Borders Art Fair 2020 in Venice. Her work has been recognized with both a Region 2 Arts Council Artist Fellowship Grant and an Individual Artist grant, and she continues her practice in her studio in Bemidji.

blairtreuer.com

Read more about Blair and her work in this insightful interview with Create Whimsy

Annie Carlano

Annie Carlano is the Senior Curator of Craft, Design and Fashion at the Mint Museum. Carlano was formerly senior curator at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, and department head and curator of Costumes & Textiles at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She earned her bachelor’s degree in art history from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and a master’s degree in art history from Università Degli Studi in Florence, Italy. Carlano is an internationally known scholar who has published and lectured on a wide variety of topics related to fine art and craft. Her recent books include Sleeping Around: The Bed from Antiquity to Now and Contemporary British Studio Ceramics: The Grainer Collection. Other writing and editing projects include One Work: Sheila Hicks at the Mint (ed., 2012) and William Ivey Long: 2007-2016 (contributing writer and ed., 2017).

mintmuseum.org

Kyoung Ae Cho

Kyoung Ae Cho is a fiber artist who is engages in conversation with nature, respectfully incorporating natural elements, recycled matter, and low-valued materials that she has gathered.  Her work, a poetic juxtaposition of natural wonder with sensual delight and fragile existence, has been exhibited in national and international venues including Lynden Sculpture Garden, Milwaukee, WI; Muskegon Museum of Art, MI; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC; Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, WI; Gregg Museum of Art and Design, Raleigh, NC; Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln, NE; Morris Museum, Morristown, NJ; San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, San Jose, CA; Tweed Museum of Art, Duluth, MN; Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, CO; John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI; University of Hawaii Art Gallery, Honolulu; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO; Dairy Barn Arts Center, Athens, OH; Detroit Institute of Arts, MI; Carnegie Art Museum of Oxnard, CA; Poikilo-museot, Kouvola, Finland; Textilemuseum, Tilburg, Netherlands; National Museum of History, Taipei, Taiwan; Cheongju Craft Museum, Cheongju, South Korea; and the National Museum of Modern Art, Kwachon, South Korea.  She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Lillian Elliott Award, the Quilt National Award of Excellence, a Pollock-Krasner Grant, a UWM Foundation and Graduate School Research Award, and a Wisconsin Arts Board Award Fellowship.  Cho currently teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

kyoungaecho.com

Jenni Sorkin

Jenni Sorkin writes on the intersections between gender, material culture, and contemporary art. Her recent book is Art in California (2021), written for Thames & Hudson’s acclaimed World of Art series. Her first book, Live Form: Women, Ceramics and Community (University of Chicago Press, 2016) examined the confluence of gender, artistic labor, and the history of post-war ceramics. Recent projects include the essay “Affinities in Abstraction: Textiles and Otherness in 1970s Painting,” in Outliers and American Vanguard Art. Lynne Cooke, ed. (Washington D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 2018) and “Alterity Rocks: 1973-1993,” Art in Chicago: A History from the Fire to Now. Maggie Taft and Robert Cozzolino, eds. (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2018). She has published widely as an art critic, and her writing has appeared in Artforum, Art Journal, Art Monthly, East of Borneo, NU: The Nordic Art Review, Frieze, The Journal of Modern Craft, Modern Painters and Third Text. Sorkin currently serves on the editorial board of Journal of Modern Craft, and has served as a member of the editorial boards of Art Journal and Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture. She is the recipient of fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies (2014-15), the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design (2012), the Getty Research Institute (2010-11), and the ACLS/Luce Fellowship in American Art (2008).  She is currently an Associate Professor in the History of Art and Architecture at UC Santa Barbara.

arthistory.ucsb.edu/people/jenni-sorkin

Julie Bargmann

Julie Bargmann is internationally recognized as an innovator in the design and building of regenerative landscapes. She founded D.I.R.T. studio in 1992 to research, design, and build projects with passion and rigor. Born and raised in New Jersey, Bargmann is forthright and unafraid to provoke debate in order to tease out what matters most about places. Her background in sculpture influences the use of fundamental forms that capture processes present on a site, whether in plain view or discovered by peeling back layers of history.

She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Carnegie-Mellon University, and a Master in Landscape Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She is the inaugural recipient of the 2021 Cornelia Hahn Oberlander International Prize in Landscape Architecture, and has received the Rome Prize fellowship from the American Academy in Rome, and the National Design Award by Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt Museum. Her D.I.R.T. projects span more than three decades and have received numerous awards, including several Honor Awards from the American Society of Landscape Architects. Her work has been featured in art and design exhibitions including Documenta and the National Design Centennial. Bargmann lectures internationally at universities, conferences, and cultural institutions, which have ranged from the Museum of Modern Art to National Brownfields Meetings. TIME, CNN and Newsweek, as well as national and international design publications, have recognized her as leading the next generation in making a difference for design and the environment. After thirty years of teaching generations to take risks and do good, not just design, she was recently named Professor Emerita, Landscape Architecture, in the School of Architecture, University of Virginia.

D.I.R.T.studio.com

Michelle Millar Fisher

Michelle Millar Fisher is currently the Ronald C. and Anita L. Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts within the Contemporary Art Department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Her work focuses on the intersections of people, power, and the material world. At the MFA, she is working on her next book and exhibition, tentatively titled Craft Schools: Where We Make What We Inherit, which took her across 48 contiguous US states via train over the course of a year. She is also the co-founder of the Designing Motherhood project and has long been interested in the confluence of gender and design. She has written widely on care work, mothering, and reproductive labor, including parenting in museums, hiding care work at workbeing childfreegrief and mothers, and the architecture of maternity. Previously, she worked at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Guggenheim Museum. The recipient of an MA and an M.Phil in Art History from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, she is currently completing her doctorate in art history at The Graduate Center at the City University of New York (CUNY). She is part of the 2022 fellow cohort at the Center for Curatorial Leadership.

michellemillarfisher.com

Jenni Sorkin

Jenni Sorkin writes on the intersections between gender, material culture, and contemporary art. Her recent book is Art in California (2021), written for Thames & Hudson’s acclaimed World of Art series. Her first book, Live Form: Women, Ceramics and Community (University of Chicago Press, 2016) examined the confluence of gender, artistic labor, and the history of post-war ceramics. Recent projects include the essay “Affinities in Abstraction: Textiles and Otherness in 1970s Painting,” in Outliers and American Vanguard Art. Lynne Cooke, ed. (Washington D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 2018) and “Alterity Rocks: 1973-1993,” Art in Chicago: A History from the Fire to Now. Maggie Taft and Robert Cozzolino, eds. (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2018). She has published widely as an art critic, and her writing has appeared in Artforum, Art Journal, Art Monthly, East of Borneo, NU: The Nordic Art Review, Frieze, The Journal of Modern Craft, Modern Painters and Third Text. Sorkin currently serves on the editorial board of Journal of Modern Craft, and has served as a member of the editorial boards of Art Journal and Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture. She is the recipient of fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies (2014-15), the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design (2012), the Getty Research Institute (2010-11), and the ACLS/Luce Fellowship in American Art (2008).  She is currently an Associate Professor in the History of Art and Architecture at UC Santa Barbara.

arthistory.ucsb.edu/people/jenni-sorkin

Erica Warren

Erica Warren is a curator and scholar, working with collections, in museums, and teaching. She is currently the editor of Craft Quarterly, the James Renwick Alliance for Craft’s magazine. Her area of specialization within decorative arts and design histories centers on the late nineteenth century through the present day with a focus on alternative modernisms. Research pursuits include the human and ecological costs that attended industrial innovations in modern textile production; color theory, synthetic dyes, and modernists with intermedial art practices such as Marguerite Zorach; the American designer, entrepreneur, and weaver Dorothy Liebes; and the unbounded practices of contemporary artists working with textiles.

Her essay “Fission: Design and Mentorship in the Dorothy Liebes Studio” will be published (summer 2023) in the catalog accompanying the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s exhibition A Dark, A Light, A Bright: The Designs of Dorothy Liebes. In 2021, her essay “Beyond Weaving: Transdisciplinarity and the Bauhaus Weaving Workshop,” appeared in Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture, and the year before, she edited and contributed to the catalogue Bisa Butler: Portraits (2020). From 2016-2022, Warren was a curator of textiles at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she organized numerous installations, including the critically acclaimed exhibitions Bisa Butler: Portraits and Weaving Beyond the Bauhaus. As a complement to her curatorial pursuits, she has taught courses at the University of Chicago, Drexel University, and the Tyler School of Art, Temple University.

ericawarrenphd.com

Robert Cozzolino

Robert Cozzolino, the Patrick and Aimee Butler Curator of Paintings at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, curates collaboratively, in partnership with artists, colleagues, and broad communities. “Starting where you are” is critical to his practice—knowing the immediate context and deeper history of the place in which he works. It also means working with humility and accepting that there is much yet to learn from others. Dr. Cozzolino is drawn to artists that make work about the full range of human experience, especially those who aspire to visually express the intangible, states of consciousness, and a full range of emotions. Although he has worked on topics from the 19th and 20th centuries, he regularly works with contemporary artists in examining history. Born and raised in Chicago, he studied at University of Illinois Chicago before completing graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His publications include Supernatural America: The Paranormal in American Art (2021), World War I and American Art (2016), Peter Blume: Nature and Metamorphosis (2014), and David Lynch: The Unified Field (2014). First trained as a musician, he has played free-improvised music as a percussionist since 1993.

Robert Cozzolino @ Mia

Fiber art is thriving in Minnesota, and the field’s growth as an artistic discipline now includes the McKnight Artist Fellowships Program, which provides two $25,000 fellowships to be awarded each year to individual midcareer fiber artists living and working in Minnesota.

In addition to the $25,000 unrestricted award and public recognition in support of their studio work and practice, McKnight Fiber Artist Fellows receive:

  • Critiques/studio visits with critics from the field.
  • Exhibition at the end of the fellowship period in the galleries at Textile Center.
  • Professional photographic documentation of work at the end of the fellowship period.
  • Participation in a public discussion that features fellows and an invited critic or curator.
  • Professional development support, such as attending conferences, workshops, and marketing advice for their work; plus consultation sessions from artist career consultants at Springboard for the Arts on topics of your choice.
  • Participation in a one – two week artist residency in partnership with McKnight and Artist Communities Alliance.
  • Membership to Textile Center and access to Textile Center’s resources, including library of more than 32,000 books and periodicals, state-of-the-art dye lab, and artisan shop opportunities.

The intent of the McKnight Fellowships for Fiber Artists is to recognize and support talented Minnesota fiber and textile artists whose work is of exceptional artistic merit. These fellowships are in support of individual artists who are at a career stage beyond emerging. Fiber Artists, as defined for the purposes of this fellowship, are artists who use textile and fiber arts materials, processes and/or sensibilities in their artistic practice throughout the conception, execution, and resolution of their work. The fellowships are funded by the McKnight Foundation and administered by Textile Center.

ABOUT THE MCKNIGHT ARTIST FELLOWSHIPS PROGRAM

Founded on the belief that Minnesota thrives when its artists thrive, the McKnight Foundation’s Arts & Culture program is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in the country. Support for individual working Minnesota artists has been a cornerstone of the program since it began in 1982. The McKnight Artist Fellowships Program provides annual, unrestricted cash awards to outstanding mid-career Minnesota artists in 14 different creative disciplines. Program partner organizations administer the fellowships and structure them to respond to the unique challenges of different disciplines. Currently the foundation contributes about $2.8 million per year to its statewide fellowships. To learn more about McKnight Artist Fellowships, visit: mcknight.org/artistfellowships

ABOUT THE MCKNIGHT FOUNDATION

The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation, advances a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive. Established in 1953, the McKnight Foundation is deeply committed to advancing climate solutions in the Midwest; building an equitable and inclusive Minnesota; and supporting the arts in Minnesota, neuroscience, and international crop research. mcknight.org

A focus on racial equity is at the heart of the McKnight approach to funding. Along with Textile Center, our organizations value diversity and equity, seeking to be inclusive and accessible to all applicants. We welcome and encourage applications from artists representing diverse cultural perspectives.

Moira Bateman, 2022 McKnight Fiber Artist Fellow

 

Moira Bateman didn’t begin her artistic career with the intention of working as a textile/fiber artist. She began with land art and landscape architecture, having earned a degree at the University Of Minnesota… Of her early work she says, “I began as an artist who worked with earth, plants, and land…work with land art and landscape architecture…centered on conversations with ideas of a place, and work that enfolded materials such as dirt, wood, clay, and importantly, plants as gardens, crops, or wild habitat. I sought to explore and describe concepts of wilderness and waterways – as well as ideas of toxicity inflected on the earth, mothering and nurturing, as well as growth and caretaking more broadly.”

 

In 2011, I began exhibiting work inspired by author Patricia Eakins’s story The Hungry Girls, a fable of the grotesque: in their insatiable hunger, girls consume everything in sight, including dirt. Once pregnant, the daughters they carry eat their mothers from the inside out. The girls fight over a nightgown, and this garment became the focus of Bateman’s work and profoundly changed the direction and materials of her work. In the making of a series of giant dresses, she wanted their fabrication to bear the description of the women’s wild and insatiable condition.

 

Pregnant with her first child during this time, what stayed with her was the fact that like these famished, pregnant women, she was not in control of what was happening. Conscious will gave way to deeper, primal forces. She learned to let go control of artistic process and engage the natural world to participate in a new way. Of this work, Bateman says, “I have come to think of the earth, and specifically the rivers and watersheds of Minnesota, as my collaborators. In this collaboration, like motherhood, I embraced fully the primal, biological, durational, and uncontrollable aspects of making and I engaged instinct.

 

Most recently, exploring the idea of history in water as evidence of climate change has been a main focus. In 2018, she worked alongside St. Croix Watershed Research Station scientists, where sediment collecting gathered hundreds of years of lake-bottom mud. She explored the form of the diatom, a single-celled algae, as an abstract element in her work, which the scientists recovered and “resurrected” to study the effects of devastating climate change—and began to explore and integrate silk, stained with waterway sediments, into her assemblages. In her current practice, she leaves bundles of silk to soak for weeks, months, or years in the waters, mud, and sediments of rivers, lakes, and bogs throughout Minnesota. Sediments carried in the waters of these locations dye the silk and imbue the cloth with startling markings that describe conditions of place. This gesture is an essential part of her practice, with the markings, colors, textures, and deteriorations made by water on cloth reflecting her interests in time, water, birth, history, dirt, and the cycles of life.

 

“As an abstractionist, my hope is that the organic shapes, earth colors, stains, and textures of my assemblages evoke a strong sense of place as well as the movement and condition of water and time. In my work”, says Bateman, “I not only intend to make visible the wonder of life hidden within water, but I also seek to render and make visible ways in which our Earth has and continues to be damaged by destructive human actions.

Blair Treuer, 2022 McKnight Fiber Artist Fellow

 

Blair Treuer is a storyteller from rural Minnesota. Her children’s participation in a traditional Native American ceremony required her to make blankets as a part of their spiritual offering, and as this was the only way she could contribute as a non-native woman, she poured herself, fully, into creating those offerings. After a decade of creating blankets for private spiritual ceremonies, in 2018 she transitioned to a studio practice of creating portraits for gallery display.

 

Her first forays into portraiture were personal and vulnerable, depicting each of her nine children, her husband, and herself. They amplified the magnitude that her husband’s life work impacted how she sees the world. He is an educator, culture-bearer, spiritual leader and activist for the Ojibwe Tribal Community, and Treuer explains “That exposure to his work has been like turning on a light bulb. As the only white person in my Native American family, my work is about my reflections as an outsider and the emotional rollercoaster I often ride as I stand fixed on the outside of the cultural and spiritual experiences of my husband and children, yet privileged enough to look in. It’s not simply about the pieces of Ojibwe culture I’ve been allowed to see, but what it’s allowed me to see within myself, and to recognize what cannot be found there.”

 

On the awareness of issues concerning cultural appropriation”, Treuer remarked in her application statement, “I recognize the Ojibwe influence in my work may make some people uncomfortable, and I’d love to have a conversation about that, should it be anyone’s concern. It is not my intention to teach people about Ojibwe culture, but instead to use it as a mirror for analysis and self-reflection of mainstream American cultural norms and ideals, and how those values are communicated. What I would like people to understand is this …what you see before you …is what my life looks like. My family members and my life experiences are my muse…and their culture is central to how they see themselves. To be true to who they are, these images are exactly how they need to be, made by the non-native woman who loves them. It is important to me to show my children how much I value their Native American heritage.”

 

Other works from the past decade address cultural norms and issues surrounding the female body to address societal messaging about aging and the continued sexualization of women. Of this work, Treuer says, “We don’t see the transitions of a woman’s body as sacred, and we haven’t rewritten the narrative to assert that aging is beautiful. But what if we did?”

 

Her current body of work, which she intends to complete during the fellowship, is a series that has been ongoing for two years, Becoming: The Transition from Childhood to Womanhood. The work celebrates her 12-year-old daughter’s journey and ceremonial rite of passage into womanhood. Important themes and revelations in this series include relationships to the natural world; the relevance of imagination; cultural views, attitudes, and communication regarding the physical transitions of the female body; definitions of womanhood; and ultimately the teachings shared with daughters about what it means to have a female body and how to protect it in today’s society.

 

Of this current work, Treuer explains, “Though this series is primarily about the female body, it is essentially proposing that our–meaning every BODY… male, female, transgender, non- conforming– is sacred. Our blood is sacred. And no one has the right to deny our sanctity.” With spirituality deeply woven into their narratives, her work resonates as honest and personal, with the power to make universal connections—and filled with hope.

“McKnight Artist Fellowships increase the exploratory opportunity, economic stability, and productive capacity of artists by providing unrestricted cash awards and artistic and professional development opportunities for midcareer artists in Minnesota.”

— Arleta Little, Arts Program Officer and Director of Artist Fellowships (former)

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