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Winter weaving, plus ceramic portrait and Design + Build


Things to see for free during winter break.

By Dateline staff

Two campus museums are readying winter exhibitions of textile art:

• The C.N. Gorman Museum launches its 40th anniversary year with a presentation of works by the fourth-generation Navajo weaver D.Y. Begay, who is scheduled to give a talk during the run of the exhibition.

• The Design Museum opens the new year with an exhibition of works from the UC Davis Design Collection, all of them featured in an alumna’s new book. The author, Mary Schoeser ’72, is co-curating the exhibition, and she is due to give a lecture and lead a museum tour on separate days in late January.

The Nelson Gallery has organized a “do-it-yourself” winter show, for which members of the public are invited to contribute their visions of the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, now in development. The Design + Build exhibition does not open until Feb. 8, but visual ideas and designs are due one week before.

At the Craft Center Gallery, Joanna Kidd will present 2.5 Dimensional, ceramic bas-relief portraits in which viewers will see a curious animation, owing to the three-dimensional depth of sculpture and the illusion of depth on a flat surface of drawing.

C.N. Gorman Museum

The Weavings of D.Y. BegayThe award-winning Navajo weaver creates tapestries with a unique blend of traditional techniques and contemporary design, capturing the changing light, silhouettes and colors of her homestead in Tselani, Ariz. Museum curator Veronica Passalacqua has prepared a commemorative book with ikmages of the works to be displayed; the book will be available for pouchase during the show. Jan. 8-March 15, 1316 Hart Hall. Reception and artist talk, Tuesday, Feb. 12: reception starts at 4 p.m. in the museum, and the lecture starts at 4:30 p.m. next door, in 2 Wellman Hall. Regular hours: noon-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 2-5 p.m. Sunday.

Design Museum

Structures, Signifiers and Society: People and TextilesGlobal ethnographic and contemporary works from the university’s Design Collection, in an exhibition that coincides with the release of Schoeser’s new book, Textiles: The Art of Mankind. It features more than 200 objects from the Design Collection, and more than 50 of these are in the exhibition. Jan. 22-March 18, 124 Cruess Hall. Regular hours: noon-4 p.m. Monday, 2-4 p.m. Sunday.

To see the Design Collection have such prominence in Schoeser’s book is a testament to the collection’s significance and importance as a teaching and research resource, said Adele Zhang, a lecturer in the Department of Design and co-curator of the winter exhibition with Schoeser.

Since graduating 40 years ago, Schoeser has become a leading authority in the field of textiles. She is a curator and historian whose previous books include World Textiles: A Concise History and Silk. She has advised English Heritage and the National Trust in the United Kingdom, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

As an undergraduate, she participated in the Education Abroad Program, at the University of Edinburgh, and has since become a resident of the United Kingdom, where she is honorary president of the Textile Society.

In doing research, though, she found Europe was no match for the UC Davis library. “There is no library with open stacks that can equal it in Europe,” she said.

So she returned to the university library, which she said “serves textile interests exceptionally well, covering as it does everything from raw materials, technology and polymer chemistry, to ethnography, anthropology and design.”

Of course, she already knew the library quite well. “I worked there as a student, helping with the recataloging required to move all the relevant volumes to the new Physical Sciences Library,” she said.

She was not nearly as familiar with the Design Collection: It was in its infancy when she graduated. So it was only about a decade ago when she started visiting the collection, “and was so impressed with the quality and diversity of its holdings that I wanted to showcase it in a publication.”

Textiles: The Art of Mankind came out Dec. 2, published by Thames & Hudson. “Textiles are the most ubiquitous and diverse creative art form on Earth,” the publisher's website declares. “This new book celebrates their spectacular and enduring appeal like no other.”

Schoeser, with knowledge gleaned from a lifetime in the textile arts, presents “a sweeping survey of the role textiles have played throughout history,” according to the publisher.

The large-format book features more than 1,000 historical and contemporary images with descriptions that underscore the importance of context for appreciating the detail of fabric and cloth.

Opening reception and Schoeser’s lecture, sponsored by the Surface Design Association: 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24. Admission is free; people interested in attending are asked to RSVP by email, designmuseum@ucdavis.edu.

Guided museum walk with the curators, 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27.

Book signings at both events.

Nelson Gallery

Design + Build — Feb. 8-March 17, Nelson Hall. Opening reception, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8. Regular hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday, and Saturday-Sunday, and Friday by appointment.

Design + Build coincides with the architectural design competition that is now under way for the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. Using the design-build process, innovatively applied to construction of an art museum, the competition will result in three fully resolved building designs.

“As our architects are working on their designs, you are invited to participate in this exciting process by contributing your vision, ideas and designs for our new museum as part of the open-call exhibition Design + Build, hosted at the Nelson Gallery," museum leaders said.

The planning process already included a series of campus and city forums. "Just as we shared with our architects the ideas and goals defined in the open forums, we will do the same with Define + Build," said Rachel Teagle, museum director. "They will be in the middle of their work on museum designs, but I don't believe that is too late for great ideas to emerge."

Teagle said the building's design is but one part of the planning process. Public input also is sought for museum programming and the interior layout.

"Design + Build shares the same core principles as the open forum process," Teagle said. "We want to know what is important and exciting to communities of museum users."

A $500 prize will be awarded to the Design + Build entry that best represents the future and history of art at UC Davis.

Museum leaders noted multiple ways in which students, faculty and the public may contribute:

Visual ideas and designs for the museum as a whole, or for specific galleries or spaces within the museum and its grounds. Photography, renderings, drawings, three-dimensional — all visual expressions are welcome, provided they conform to the project specifications. Entries will be accepted one day only: Friday, Feb. 1, no later than 4 p.m., at the Nelson Gallery.

Text-based contributions, including poetry and essays, “or simply the words you think best describe what our museum needs to be.” Text can be submitted any time up until 4 p.m. Feb. 1 to Katrina Wong, kliwong@ucdavis.edu.

Ideas for opening performances — submit a proposal by 4 p.m. Feb. 1 to kliwong@ucdavis.edu.

Casual participation at the exhibition, where building blocks, site analysis and construction advice will be available throughout the show.

Attend the exhibition's Feb. 8 opening, where a panel of experts from the UC Davis community will discuss the opportunities and issues of the museum site.

More information is available online.

Craft Center Gallery

2.5 Dimensional — Craft Center instructor Joanna Kidd presents ceramic bas-relief portraits in fragment, removed from any surrounding narrative context. The work in this exhibition combines the three-dimensional depth of sculpture and the illusion of depth on a flat surface of drawing. This combination of sculptural depth and illusion creates distortions in the images when viewed from different angles, lending the sculptures a curious animation as the viewer moves around them. Jan. 7-Feb. 8, Craft Center, South Silo. Closing reception, 6-7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8. Regular hours, 12:30-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 12:30-7 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends.

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