July 14 – August 22, 2015 • Joan Mondale Gallery
Opening Reception: Thursday, July 16, 6 – 9 pm
Artist Talk: 7 and 8:30 pm

Slideshow Photography: Betsy Preston

I interpret and express my concerns about our environment and the human condition through my work….I admire the directness and honesty I see in tribal art and I try to incorporate those qualities in my own art. My pieces express both action and reaction to what I have loved in the past and what I am discovering today. —Mary Giles

Textile Center is pleased to announce Mary Giles: A Retrospective, featuring 21 of Giles’ distinctive works.

A native Minnesotan, Giles was born in St. Paul and currently resides on the St. Croix River, north of Stillwater. She received a BS in Art Education from Mankato State University in Minnesota and went on to teach art in the Twin Cities and St. Louis, Missouri.

It was when Giles was preparing to teach weaving to a high school class in the late 1970s that she discovered basketry forms and proceeded to develop techniques through workshops with fiber artists Walter Nottingham, Ferne Jacobs, Lissa Hunter, Diane Itter, Jane Sauer and John McQueen. Inspired by indigenous art, Giles also sought out and learned from Native American basket makers.

In Giles’ work, one will find the traditional basketry technique of coiling alongside contemporary materials of waxed linen, copper, and iron. She has always been influenced, not only by the character of the materials she uses, but also by place. Her earliest works reflect the underwater world she experienced while scuba diving. Later, she spent many summers in New Mexico and her work reflected the landscape forms of the Southwest. Since retiring to Stillwater, she has been inspired by the woods and the river where she now lives. “I am inspired by the light on the river, shadows in the woods, and the textures and colors of the water, rocks and trees.”

Giles’ work has been displayed in numerous galleries and museums in the United States, at the Barbican Centre in London, and has represented the U.S. at the International Triennial of Tapestry in Lodz, Poland. In 2013 she was named The Master of Fiber Arts by the Renwick Alliance of the Smithsonian Museum. Her work is included in the collections of over a dozen museums, including the Minneapolis Institute of Arts where Giles’ Dark Kiva (1994) is currently on display.

Selected Mary Giles Exhibitions

2010    Duane Reed Gallery, St Louis, MO
2009    Masters of Contemporary Basketry, Fountainhead Gallery, Seattle, WA
2009    SOFA Santa Fe, Duane Reed Gallery
2007    Duane Reed Gallery, St. Louis, MO
2006    Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA
2005    Arizona University Museum, Tempe, AZ
2005    Long Beach Museum of Art, CA
2004    Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA
2003    Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AR
2002    Boston Museum of Fine Arts, MA
2001    10th International Triennial of Tapestry, Lodz, Poland
2001    Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
2001    Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI
2001    Baltimore Clay Works, Baltimore, MD
2000    Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AR
1999    Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA
1999    Craft Council, London, England
1998    Barbican Centre, London, England
1995    St. Louis Art Museum, MO
1995    Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AR
1994    Dennos Museum Center, Travers City, MI
1993    Waterloo Museum of Art, IA
1993    Boca Raton Museum of Art, FL
1989    American Craft Museum, NY
1987    Erie Art Museum, PA
1985    Minneapolis Institute of Arts, MN

This exhibition coincides with the National Basketry Organization’s 8th Biennial Conference: Tradition and Innovation VIII, July 14 – 19, 2015