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39 S Main St, Oberlin, OH, 44074

Reconstructed Color
Petra Soesemann
January 13–March 18, 2018

Opening Reception: January 14, 2018, 2–4pm

Petra Soesemann is Professor of Art and Chair of the Foundation Department at the Cleveland Institute of Art. She earned her BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art and her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Soesemann’s studio practice explores pattern, repetition and color through fabric constructions. She has an on-going interest in the relationships among aesthetic expression and the various states of human consciousness, and explores pattern, repetition and color to discover visual relationships that emerge from states of mindfulness. This allows abstract concepts to link to pattern and structure, generating visual forms that link the universal and the particular.

Selected grants have supported opportunities for artist residencies, research and travel. Residencies include Lucid Art Foundation in California, Fundacion Valparaiso in Spain and RAiR in Roswell, New Mexico. Research and travels include remote viewing studies at The Monroe Institute in VA, travels to Turkey/Istanbul Biennials, Fulbright fellowship/Peru to research Incan architecture, and research of Mayan architecture in Central America.

Selected exhibition venues include the FAVA Firelands Association for the Visual Arts, Oberlin, OH; Roswell Museum and Art Center, NM; International Quilt Festival, Chicago and Houston venues; SE Ohio Cultural Arts Center, Athens, OH; Praxis Fiber Workshop, Cleveland, OH; Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, Kansas City, MO; Texas Quilt Museum, La Grange TX; and Arnot Art Museum, Elmira, NY.

Soesemann’s work is in collections including Cleveland Clinic Collection, OH; Progressive Art Collection, OH; Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art, NM; Museum of International Folk Art, NM; The America Group, CT; John M. Walsh III Quilt Collection, NJ; and Artists' Books Collections of MOMA, NY and Walker Art Center, MN.

Artist Statement
My art celebrates the paradoxical human odyssey: sensuous beings navigating a world of mental constructs, while simultaneously proceeding as intuitive beings seduced by a world of matter and fact. It is an on-going exploration of material, subject and style to convey visual narratives via the formal elements of pattern, repetition, color and texture.

As a medium, fabric resonates with direct and intimate tactile experience and elicits a visceral desire to touch and to feel. It is this connection to material and form that I hope engages the viewer beyond initial visual impact.

My fabric constructions often manipulate pattern and color to bring perception into conflict with uncertainty, engaging the basic mechanisms of “mind seeking meaning.” I’m fascinated with altered and disrupted patterns as a reflection on the possibilities of visual language and communication -- as metaphor, as examination of the perspectives we each hold, and literally as frames for our perceptions.

I locate myself firmly within the history of “makers.” I value the grounding of tradition and the privilege of forming objects by hand. I also value the evolution of ideas and the emergence of cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural possibilities. Through my work I search for ways to link my personal experiences and insights to broader contexts.

I’ve been working with fabric constructions for several decades. Although I regularly come back to the art quilt format, I’m also interested in pursuing related forms. I have begun a series of fabric pages that will eventually be bound in book formats, to create a direct tactile experience for the viewer. I’ve been exploring transparencies and translucencies with partially obstructed and altered views, and with installations of sheer quilts to create veils of color and images that can reveal or conceal depending on the light.