Artist John Sims to explore correlation between quilting, math, community

Released on 10/23/2014, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHEN: Friday, Nov. 7, 2014

WHERE: International Quilt Study Center and Museum, 1523 N. 33rd Street

Lincoln, Neb., October 23rd, 2014 —
John Sims (courtesy photo)
John Sims (courtesy photo)

            Audiences will see a unique presentation on the correlation between quilting, mathematics and community Nov. 7 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's International Quilt Study Center and Museum at Quilt House, 1523 N. 33rd St.

            John Sims, an interdisciplinary conceptual artist, will present "SquareRoots: A Quilted Manifesto/Journey of a MathArtist" at 5:30 p.m. Sims creates multimedia projects spanning the areas of mathematics, art, text, performance and political-media activism.

            "You can expect to witness the interdisciplinary process in an art context as you have never seen it before, with quilting and all of its associated metaphors at the center," Sims said. "I am excited about coming to Quilt House and sharing my work on the expansive nature of quilting, community and art."

            Sims became interested in quiltmaking as a conceptual device to advance his work in mathematical art. "SquareRoots: A Quilted Manifesto," a series of 13 mathart quilts done in collaboration with the Amish community in Sarasota, Fla., will travel internationally.

            "Sims has harnessed the richness and adaptability of quilts to express difficult intellectually or socially challenging subjects more easily, including math, race and ethnicity," said Jonathan Gregory, assistant curator of exhibitions at Quilt House. "I've already been inspired through conversations I've had with John as we've planned his visit. He combines textile art, music, film, math and racial and ethnic concerns and these draw in people to consider larger ideas about ourselves."

            The free public lecture is in conjunction with the exhibition, "Design Dynamics of Log Cabin Quilts," on display at Quilt House through Nov. 29.

            Quilt House will offer free admission to its galleries between 4:30 and 7 p.m. Nov. 7 as part of Lincoln's First Friday festivities. A reception featuring light refreshments will begin at 5 p.m.

            Sims will also be a guest lecturer in the Department of Art and Art History in UNL's Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts.

            Sims has a bachelor of science degree in mathematics from Antioch College and is completing a doctorate in mathematics at Wesleyan University, with research interest in dynamical systems, mathematical art and ethnomathematics. He designed a visual mathematics curriculum for artists and visual thinkers when he was coordinator of mathematics at Ringling College Art and Design in Sarasota,.

            Sims has curated more than 15 mathematical art exhibitions, including the exhibition/film "Rhythm of Structure: Bowery and Beyond," which featured more than 75 artists and poets.

            This program is made possible through the support of the Robert S. & Mildred M. Baynard Charitable Trust, the Mary Ann Beavers Fund for Public Programming & Outreach, Institute for Ethnic Studies, the Mark & Diann Sorenson Fund for Public Programming & Outreach and Yia Yia's Pizza and Beer. The exhibition and publications were made possible through funding from the Nebraska Arts Council, the Nebraska Cultural Endowment and Friends of the IQSCM.

            The International Quilt Study Center and Museum at Quilt House is home of the world's largest publicly held quilt collection. Established in 1997, the center opened a new museum in 2008. The privately-funded, environmentally sustainable museum houses more than 4,500 quilts and objects, state-of-the-art research and storage space and spacious galleries. The center's mission to collect, preserve, study, exhibit and promote discovery of quilts and quiltmaking traditions from many cultures, countries and times.

            The International Quilt Study Center is an academic program of the Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design in the UNL College of Education and Human Sciences.

Writer: Laura Chapman, International Quilt Study Center and Museum


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