Colleen Heslin's recent win at the RBC Painting Competition has had me thinking about quilts. Her painting comprised multiple shapes of brightly coloured fabric, dyed using something like a tie-dye technique, then sewn together. From a distance the piece looks like a photo realist rendering of fabric and up-close you glean that the stretched canvas is actually a form of a quilt. Bringing to mind The Quilts of Gees Bend and early Amish Quilts, both of which precede Abstract Expressionism and Colour Field painting, Heslin's work offers a striking reinterpretation of an older relationship.
With this in mind I had America's Glorious Quilts out and was (uncharacteristically) enticed by the section "Contemporary Quilts" (the book was published in 1987). With an emphasis on pattern and gradient, these works seem very right now. Take a look and see what you think.