Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012

Skyberg's Threads Connect Art & Community at Arts@Large

Arts @ Large Launches Skyberg's "Squircle"on December 12

By Peggy Sue
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How do elementary school children incorporate art into their daily schedule? Arts @ Large places artists such as Andrea Skyberg in school residencies at Milwaukee schools across the city. Over the last year, Skyberg collaborated with Cooper, Fairview, 95th Street School, St. John the Evangelist and the Waukesha Community Art Project to help illustrate her new book titled Squircle.

The Arts @ Large Gallery at 908 South 5th Street currently exhibits “Threads that Connect: Fiber Art and Community" with the original artwork from the now published illustrations, which Skyberg and these children constructed when she was completing a six month artist's residency. Skyberg assisted their classes in appliqué, hand stitching, quilting and  machine appliqué techniques for the monumental wall hangings on display in the gallery for the exhibition. The colorful fiber art represents the two page layouts in the book as well as delightful works of collaborative art. 

Skyberg publishes under Wooden Nickel Press, a small company owned by Skyberg and her artist husband Michael Greer. In this story, Skyberg envisioned a world that interconnects with living creatures. In the tale of  Squircle a small girl named Evie tries to catch a squirrel, and then a butterfly, and eventually loses her way in the forest. When puzzled about finding her way home, assorted forest creatures inspire her to live in the moment and listen to her voice to come full circle to where the little girl started from.

The book's five murals were created by the school children using class time while other pieces were worked on as homework, and then placed by Skyberg in the design for the mural that she then completed. Similar to how all these pieces of fabric connect in the artwork, the children become connected to each other and the story, leading to that interconnectedness of each school to a larger community. This artwork symbolizes for the children as Skyberg believes, “Having a piece of their own art in a published book, to help make the art, gives them a bigger place for themselves in the world.”

With the International Day of Connectedness (December 12, 2012, 12.12.12.) fast approaching, the exhibition resonates with multilayered meaning, similar to the cut up rag rugs and fabrics Skyberg applies to these narrative hangings. Skybeg’s daughter, who has collected string since she was a toddler, inspired the initial idea for the artwork and the girl in the book. A red string becomes ‘the squircle’ in the story and then also links the artwork in the gallery. All the fabrics in these hangings connect Evie and Skyberg to their past because these materials have a backstory from Skyberg’s life as well.

The bits and pieces in the artworks reflect fabric scraps that Skyberg has collected over the years, remnants from her own childhood and beyond. In every way, Squircle completes a deeply heartwarming life cycle through past, present and future. After the exhibition, the beautifully textured murals will be hung in the schools where they were made when the exhibit ends and become art traveling through generations and time.

Skyberg’s published book Squircle is available at the Arts @ Large Gallery with the exhibition on display through January 4. A special book launch at the gallery will be held on December 12, 4:00-6:00  p.m.with a special presentation by Skyberg that evening. If one misses the book launch, the opportunity to visit the gallery would be a great adventure for holiday vacation time. Amazon.com also features the book online while Skyberg has already begun searching for another residency to have children help her illustrate her new story about a heart shaped girl called Cutie Pattotie. After all her fine threads are sewn and tucked in, finished in her fiber art, Skyberg knows the children’s hand sewn work lovingly connects art and community.

Arts @ Large presents “Squircle” and the art of Andrea Skyberg along with the murals from Milwaukee city schools through January 4. For further information contact: artsatlargeinc.org., www.AndreaSkyberg.com, or andreaskyberg@snicketyfritz.com

 

 

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