Jessica Wohl

Region: South

Over the past few years, I’ve felt optimistic about the turning tide in this country regarding the visibility of civil rights issues, such as marriage equality and civic engagement, and a younger, empowered generation. However, I am also afraid, angered and horrified by insurmountable insensitivity, dishonesty, gun violence, greed, police brutality, and political polarization. These quilts are my attempt at reconciling this internal conflict, as they offer protection, warmth, and comfort to those who seek respite from anger and despair.

Redlining, gerrymandering, imprisonment, fear, and systemic racism divide communities with visible and invisible barriers. Mimicking and recalling these barriers, I use abstractions of fences, gates, hedges, and other structures to separate the viewer from something lovely yet inaccessible, beyond their reach.

By definition a quilt is an object that unifies disparate pieces. The fabrics in this work have been found or purchased from thrift stores and yard sales across the country. They are handme- downs, throwaways—stained, smelly, loved, discarded, and Someone Else’s. Like the composition of our country, they are “others” made into one.