Hailing from the Mississippi Delta, Greely Myatt incorporates childhood memories into his art—in this case, the quilts that his grandparents used to drape across outdoor clotheslines. Myatt began sculpting quilts in the early ‘90s, joining painted wooden signs to create a patchwork whole. In Windmill Quilt on Cot, Myatt adorns a steel bed frame with a solid wooden quilt made from recycled signage. Flowing, loose fabric freezes, re-imagined as a stiff sculpture. Given quilts’ long cultural legacy, Myatt’s sculptures revitalize an old convention. Bed quilts are historically both practical and decorative, and certain artists have re-appropriated the aesthetic to remark on, for example, female crafting and autonomy (like in the work of Miriam Schapiro also in this gallery). Indeed, quilts make important declarations about gender, race, and economy; Gee’s Bend quilts were woven by women in order to provide for their families. In the words of Katy Siegel, associate professor of art history at Hunter College, “Myatt’s work is purposefully regional in form and content, not accidentally regional, understood as provincial outlook or lesser quality.” The Southern aesthetic defines Myatt’s work. His sculptural quilts—both visually familiar and conceptually unique—cannot sway in the wind like those of his memories. Rather, they create a durable, immovable point of reference for a cultural tradition.
Janet Wlody ‘13, Gund Gallery Associate