We all travel through cities, inhabit communities and are influenced by their character—a combination of climate, geography, history, economies, the built and natural environment, and ultimately culture. However, this relationship is not one way. With a long view, one comes to understand that people have an interactive dynamic connection with place: we are shaped by the communities we inhabit while also simultaneously contributing to the creation of place, zeitgeist and character ourselves.
People and place—landform, landscape and people have been and remain common concerns for me. Most notably, I am fascinated by their inevitable and often ambiguous interactions and intertwined influences. In the pieces here, you will see that sometimes my land or people are the same/shifting forms. In other instances, the figures clearly suggest people—standing alone on fire, in trouble, asking, or feigning indifference. Other instances the figures stand together in enmeshed relationship, sharing characteristics, or moving along together.
I choose to work with fabric as my medium of choice, as it is accessible—we are all clothed in and housed among fabric. In this exhibit, I present work that is pieced, employing traditional quilting techniques, and fabric dyed paintings, also quilted. All the work tends to be large scale, bold, yet simple and direct with strong, large figures interacting often with an equally strong ground. I love color and use it confidently, powerfully, and often playfully. Scale is important to my work, as the consistently large pieces allow the viewer to be in or next to the work, provoking a visceral curiosity about who this may be? what’s going on? as well as realizations of personal likeness and similarity.
About Gerri Spilka
Gerri Spilka’s award winning work has been exhibited in numerous fine art and textile shows in Europe, Canada, and the US. Trained as an artist, social scientist, and architect and urban planner, it is not surprising that Spilka’s fabric work continues to investigate themes grounded in these ways of knowing the world.
She has been making pieced fabric, and dye painted and printed constructions for over twelve years. Spilka became a full time studio artist after a rich career advising some of the most inspiring people leading social change throughout the US. She was a founding director of Equal Measure, a national philanthropic strategy and evaluation firm based in Philadelphia.
Gerri has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University, a master’s degree in Psychology from Temple University; and an M. Arch. from the University of Pennsylvania. She has a studio and lives in South Philadelphia. www.gerrispilka.com