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Michael James

Quilt #150: Rehoboth Meander
1993
cotton and silk
53 x 52 1/2 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the James Renwick Alliance

The title refers to a town in Massachusetts where the artist lived. James has replaced the rectangular grid of traditional quilts with diagonals. Like a composer weaving together musical lines in a concerto, he constructed the quilt from hundreds of strips of commercial cotton and silk fabrics, ranging in color from dark hues to soft pastels to iridescent effects. The quilt pulsates with energy, a dynamic visual impression produced by the diagonal lines and interplay of colors. Four ideogrammatic designs appear to float across the surface, creating tension between the bold patterns and the crisp diagonals that give the illusion of depth.