Points of Departure

Inspirations from the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection

September 18 – November 24, 2019
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 19, 2019, 5:00 – 7:00 pm

Points of Departure Gallery

This fall, a new exhibition marks the conclusion of the 50th anniversary of the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection. Points of Departure: Inspirations from the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection highlights the Collection’s continuing function as a vital resource and catalyst for new exploration and creativity.

David Newell, former director of exhibitions and outreach for the Gallery, with the assistance of three other directors emeriti, invited sixteen artists from Madison and beyond to enjoy special access to the Collection. They used it for research, study, and inspiration, and then created pieces based on their findings, exclusively for the show. Points of Departure will feature these new works alongside their respective inspirational sources.

Participating artist Nirmal Raja, of Milwaukee, found the experience especially fruitful: “I am always eager to look at history and historical or vintage artifacts and make them meaningful to the current moment. The invitation to investigate the Textile Collection triggered an idea that demanded extensive research and work. My project has since grown into a major recent work in my portfolio.”

Newell noted of the exhibition, “It truly highlights the Collection’s amazing capacity to inspire and stimulate, while also serving as an unparalleled reference resource for the university.”

Working largely in textiles, but in a variety of styles, and some in other media, Points of Departure participating artists include (in alphabetical order):

Mary Bero (Madison, WI)
Craig Clifford (Appleton, WI)
Teresa Faris (Madison, WI)
Craig Grabhorn (Appleton, WI)
Christiane Grauert (Milwaukee, WI)
Emelia Haglund (Middleton, WI)
Mary Jaeger (New York City, NY)
Haichi Jihn (Whitefish Bay, WI)
Yevgeniya Kaganovich (Milwaukee, WI)
Dakota Mace (Madison, WI)
Nirmal Raja (Milwaukee, WI)
Bird Ross (Madison, WI)
Jason Ruhl (Madison, WI)
Diane Sheehan (Madison, WI)
Michael Velliquette (Madison, WI)

Ruth Davis Design Gallery hours:
Wednesday – Friday 10 am – 4 pm, Thursday evenings until 7 pm Saturday – Sunday, Noon – 4 pm. Admission: FREE.

Related Programming

October 4 | MMoCA Gallery Night: Both the Ruth Davis Design Gallery and Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery will host extended hours as part of the annual Gallery Night. From 5:00-9:00 PM., stop by for flash tours with curators, artists, and gallery staff.

November 7, 7:00 – 8:00 pm | Points of Departure Artist Panel: Contributors to the Points of Departure show Maggie Sasso, Teresa Faris, and Yevgeniya Kaganovich discuss their work and experience as activist women artists. Room 2235

  • Maggie Sasso produces conceptual bodies of work that express macrocosmic ideas through microcosmic detail, examines the role of material culture in relationship to our collective past.
  • Teresa Faris’ work explores the notion of advantage and disadvantage that, adjacently, resides within all beings. Privilege comes in many forms ranging from skin/eye color, physical and mental ability to class, status and power.
  • Yevgeniya Kaganovich is a Milwaukee-based artist, whose hybrid practice encompasses Jewelry and Metalsmithing, sculpture and installation.

November 14, 5:00 – 7:00 pm in the Link | Printmaking Workshop: UW Indigenous art faculty John Hitchcock and Points of Departure artist Jason Ruhl discuss their respective inspirations and processes as John lead a workshop on screen-printing with Fresh Hot Press, the UW-Madison print club. Indigenous print-maker John Hitchcock uses the print medium of screen-printing with its long history of social and political commentary to explore relationships of community, land, and culture. Jason Ruhl is a Madison-based artist who predominantly works in print-based media, taking fragmented pieces of graphic ephemera and reworking them into simplified, enigmatic images.In the Link, the first floor, main entry of the building.

HLATC 50th anniversary logo


About the Design Gallery

Each academic semester the Design Gallery organizes a major curated exhibition related to a design topic followed by showcase installations of Design Studies student creative work at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

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