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(Image: Jennifer Lefort (b.1976), Grand Salon of Ideas (in pink), n.d., oil, acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 96 x 234 in. Image courtesy of Jennifer Lefort Studio. // provided by the Castellani Art Museum)
(Image: Jennifer Lefort (b.1976), Grand Salon of Ideas (in pink), n.d., oil, acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 96 x 234 in. Image courtesy of Jennifer Lefort Studio. // provided by the Castellani Art Museum)

Castellani Art Museum presents new exhibitions showcasing fusion of textile arts, colorful imaginations, traditional weaving


Tue, Apr 2nd 2024 11:20 am

Castellani Art Museum Press Release

Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University is excited to announce the opening of three distinctive exhibitions, each celebrating unique aspects of artistic expression. The museum opens the doors to these inspiring showcases on April 11.

The first exhibition, “Old/New Threads,” in collaboration with Stitch Buffalo, highlights the intersection of traditional art, economy and community. This traveling exhibition developed by the museum and Stitch Buffalo displays a rich tapestry of textile arts, illustrating the significant role they play in cultural heritage and community empowerment.

"The moment I walked into Stitch (Buffalo) … I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is heaven.’ It became my second home. I found friends that have become like family. … Stitch is why I stayed in Buffalo,” Stitch board member Munawara Sultana said.

Featuring a variety of artworks, the exhibition delves into the expressiveness and importance of fiber arts, reflecting both personal and collective memories and identities, as well as the economic impact of selling work.

“Jennifer Lefort: Grand Salon of Ideas” marks the second exhibition, a vibrant celebration of the artist's 20-year journey in the realm of visual arts. Lefort, known for her large-scale, colorful paintings and sculptures, presents an immersive experience that challenges and delights the senses. The highlight of this exhibition is the 20-foot-wide "Grand Salon of Ideas," a piece inspired by historical works yet deeply rooted in contemporary perspectives.

“Unlike most abstract painting today, Lefort’s artistic bravura presents a weighty honesty and a genuine uncertainty about the act of painting – the mess of creation,” exhibition curator Michael Beam said.

This exhibition provides insight into Lefort's exploration of color and form, offering a journey through her creative evolution.

“I’m fascinated with how contrasting qualities can take us to a place of ease and strangeness or beauty and disorder all at once,” Lefort said of her work.

The third exhibition, “Weaving Hands | Planting Seeds,” showcases the traditional artistry of Marilyn Isaacs and the role of self-taught art in preserving community knowledge. Through the intricate craft of Haudenosaunee fingerweaving, Isaacs brings to light an important aspect of her cultural identity. Her work, recognized for its detailed craftsmanship, is not just an artistic expression, but a medium for education and the continuation of tradition.

Speaking of her practice, Isaacs asked “Is fingerweaving fun? Yes! Is it hard? Yes. It requires a lot of concentration. Weaving has never been work for me; it’s just like playtime.”

In celebration of these openings, the Castellani Art Museum is hosting an opening reception on April 11. The evening begins with a special event for CAM members and Niagara University at 4:30 p.m., followed by the public reception at 5:30 p.m. The reception will feature curator-led tours, allowing guests to engage with the art and the artists themselves. With Lefort and Isaacs in attendance, along with curators Beam and Edward Millar, this event promises to be an enriching experience. Light refreshments will be served, and parking is available in the Castellani, Gallagher, and Dwyer lots. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP by April 10.

For more information on the CAM, visit www.castellaniartmuseum.org, or follow CAM’s Facebook page, X (@CAM_of_NU) and Instagram (@CastellaniArtMuseum).

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