Confab creation of Tech photographers earns Best in Show

Mar 17, 2023 | General News, Liberal Arts, Students

A quilt created by artists of Louisiana Tech University’s School of Design stood out among more than 1,200 artworks submitted and was awarded Best in Show in the Masur Museum of Art’s 60th Annual Juried Exhibition in Monroe.

Photography Professor Frank Hamrick in Tech’s College of Liberal Arts and four MFA graduate students — Emerald McIntyre, Jacob Moffett, Jennifer Robison and Paul Wolfe — collaborated on the project during Winter Quarter. The quilt’s top incorporates cyanotype, a 19th century photochemistry that was often used to make architectural blue prints in the 20th century.

“Art exhibitions are becoming progressively more inclusive as far as selecting works that are not presented as traditional fine art matted in a frame,” Hamrick, who in this case submitted collaborative artwork for an exhibition for the first time in his career, said. “I believe jurors and curators are looking for work that challenges viewers’ ideas of what is shown at an exhibit. Quilts are starting to show up more at exhibitions instead of being quarantined to traditional craft quilt shows.”

The project resulted from a desire to push the boundaries of monochromatic photography, as well as where people normally see photography. Cyanotype creates a blue image when exposed on a white surface such as paper, fabric, and wood.

The photographers explored exposing the blue photochemistry on various colors of fabric to create duo tones, including yellow/green, orange/brown, and red/purple. The photographers then designed a quilt pattern that allowed each MFA student equal space for their photography radiating out from Hamrick’s imagery in the quilt’s center.

“The piece pushes the boundaries of analog photography, the boundaries of dying fabric, and how imagery appears on the fabric used on quilts,” Hamrick said. “I think these are all contributing factors as to why the work was accepted into the show and why the juror selected the piece for Best in Show when she saw it in person.”

Jovanna Venegas, Assistant Curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, made the selections from among accepted works by approximately 70 artists from across the United States. Venegas chose the prizewinners and spoke at the exhibition’s opening reception Thursday, March 9.

Venegas said she was drawn to the piece as a collaboration echoing back to the historical method of quilt production that brought people together.

“Each person brought a different skill set to the project to arrive at a piece none of them could have completed on their own,” Jennifer Robison, Tech MFA Class of 2022, said. “Professor Hamrick and his current students continue to explore and seek new ways to use these historical photographic processes.”

The Cyanotype Quilt will be on view at the Masur Museum of Art, 1400 S. Grand St. in Monroe, through Saturday, May 6.