old billboard outside reading pa lo res

The inspiration for this piece was the first scene in the movei “3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, MO.” The billboards were old, and torn. I thought they looked neat — in an worn, textured kind of way.

There is a tacky sign outside Reading saying something like, “Mayor Wally Scott welcomes you to the city of positive change.” It has such a temporary feel that it looks like it could be moved, changed, or maybe just blow over at any moment.

Anyway, those two images came together in my mind for this piece. It got a bit overworked. Sorry about that.  At this point it is what it is.

In case you are wondering, the figure in the lower left of the old billboard is Morelos, hero of the Mexican revolution.  He was on a peso note that I had.

And I want to add that there are many people working hard to make Reading a vibrant town again. I do count myself among them. But that doesn’t mean that I’m blind to the ironies and contradictions of what is still the poorest city over 85,000 in the US. It was once great, but not all of the change has been positive.

Martha Ressler

Old Billboard Outside Reading, PA

Art Quilt

16 x 20″

Advertisements

A Separate Piece 20 x 16 lo res

There are sometimes issues in the country. A lone farmer wants to hold out from development. Or, conversely, wants to sell their farm to a developer. Life in town is different from life on the land. Its a separate piece of land, of reality, or of cloth.

Martha Ressler

A Separate Piece

Art Quilt

16 x 20″

I am excited that my art quilt “Celebrating the Destruction of Apartheid” has been selected for inclusion in a show at Visions Art Museum in San Diego, CA. The opening is April 21, which I plan to attend.

This lighthearted moment on our trip to South Africa belies the tragedy embedded in this place. The two figures are seated in front of the High Court Annex in Cape Town, where South Africans had to report annually to be classified as members of one of seven “races.” Our guide, seated on the right, relayed how his own family had been split up by this cruel, subjective process. He is joined on the left by one of our tour group members, a young doctor from Atlanta.

In the past, as persons of color, they would have been violating the South African laws of Apartheid, a system of rigid segregation and oppression of the non-white population. Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990, and the Apartheid laws were abolished in mid-1991, pending the historical first multiracial election in 1994, when Mandela was elected President of South Africa. Today the “whites only” bench remains as a historical reminder that Apartheid has been tossed into the ashcan of history.

I was involved in the international fight to free Nelson Mandela and end apartheid in the late 1980’s, and incorporated my collection of political buttons from that time into the quilt.

Today, though Apartheid has been destroyed, South Africa is one of the most economically unequal country in the world. The fight for equality continues as it does elsewhere, including the United States.

The rest of the piece tells the story of our visit to South Africa. The Bushveld, at the top, is where we enjoyed a safari. Nelson Mandela’s prison cell and the quarry where he and other political prisoners toiled, fabrics I bought there, South African money and Jackass Penguins and other animals we saw are among the other items in the design.

celebrating the destruction of apartheid small

Martha Ressler, Celebrating the Destruction of Apartheid, Art Quilt, 60 x 37.5″

purple sky red roof lo res

I noticed the shapes of this barn down the road from us, while out walking one day. I think it makes a great composition on its own.  But I did decide to add the purple sky as an added touch.

Martha Ressler

Red Roof, Purple Sky

Art Quilt

16 x 20″

Red Shed Orange Door Yellow Sky lo res

This is a re-do of a quilt I made a few years ago. The scene of this group of buildings, near Yellow House, PA, tickled me because of the colors. I added the yellow sky in the new piece, as a nod to the proximity of a town with a name like Yellow House, and because it goes with the red and orange. I’m starting to try to see how far I can go in re-organizing a scene using fabric. And still make a representational image, that is.

Martha Ressler

Red Shed, Orange Door, Yellow Sky

Art Quilt

16 x 20″

What Does the Newspaper Say_ On New Years Day lo res

This piece was the result of a challenge laid down in Cloth in Common, my international art quilt group. We were to use song lyrics as an inspiration for an art quilt. I love song lyrics, and thought it would be easy.  It wasn’t. My mind was blank for the month of December.  Then on January 1, as I retrieved my neighbor’s newspaper, I saw my shadow selfie, and the U2 song, New Year’s Day, sprung into my mind. It was the coldest January 1 for 100 years. The news had been mostly bad, to my mind. All I had to add was the “blood-red sky,” and I had my composition. Even the shadows could look a bit sinister — or not.

Martha Ressler

What Will the Newspapers Say/ On New Year’s Day

Art Quilt

20 x 16″

Linus and Lucy (Orange) Small 2 lo res

This is day 12 of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge issued by artist Leslie Saeta. Or I guess it should read 28 paintings in 28 days, since it’s February.  But that doesn’t have quite the same ring.

I’ve been working on a series of jazz themed works based on listening to the happy, rollicking rendition of Linus and Lucy, the theme song of Peanuts, the movie, by the Vince Guaraldi Trio.

Martha Ressler

Linus and Lucy Orange (small, 2)

Art Quilt

7 x 9″ framed