Hailing from Anchorage, Alaska, Maria Shell produces contemporary quilts grounded in the tradition and craft of American quilt making. She takes classical components of traditional bedcovers and manipulates them to create surprising combinations of pattern, repetition, and color. “Limiting the structure of my work to the pieced quilt has allowed me to go deep into color and print,” Shell says. ‘How do I get color to vibrate? How can I stitch these elements together so that the viewer sees not only hundreds of scraps of fabric but also the sum—the whole as greater than its parts? What would happen if a traditional bed quilt ate a healthy dose of psychedelic mushrooms?’ Those are the questions I am trying to answer.”
Featuring fourteen works by Shell created between 2011 and 2022, this special exhibition will explore the ways Shell pushes the boundaries of the traditional gridded format of the American quilt. Organized by Curator Katie Wood Kirchhoff, Maria Shell: Off the Grid will be on view in The Dana-Spencer Textile Galleries at Hat and Fragrance from May 15 through October 16, 2022.
Hat and Fragrance Textile Gallery