[The American Context #16] Christina’s World

Luke Haynes

Luke Haynes is a quilter, sculptor, and fabric artist whose work is influenced by his background in architecture and design. He is considered one of the leading artists in the Art Quilt movement, which began in the 1980s and is driven by professional artists creating quilts that focus on concept over pattern. Haynes attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts before graduating in Architecture from Cooper Union in New York City. He is an Asheville native, but currently lives in Los Angeles, California.

Haynes was initially drawn to quiltmaking by the desire to make a picture out of fabric. His first quilt was a self-portrait because he was too shy to ask others to pose for a photograph. Since then, he has become known for his portrait quilts, which now depict not only himself, but also his family and friends. In his American Context series, Haynes asked his friends to imitate poses found in famous works of American art, referencing paintings by James Whistler, Edward Hopper, and John Singer Sargent. The recumbent figure looking toward the horizon in his [American Context #16] Christina's World quilt from 2012 is modeled after Andrew Wyeth's iconic painting from 1948. By incorporating these references to the art historical canon, Haynes seeks to blur the distinction between fine art and craft, reminding viewers that quilts belong in the realm of fine art just as much as painting and sculpture. As curator Suzanne Isken explains, “His intention is to elevate the public response to quilting as on par with fine art object making.” Through his materials, Haynes creates a conversation between past and present by using recycled clothing in the background of the image and new fabric for the body of the figure.

Haynes' work has been featured in numerous exhibitions around the country, including over 12 solo exhibitions. Four of his American Context quilts were on display in the Asheville Art Museum's 2015 exhibition Man-Made: Contemporary Male Quilters, which was organized by the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles. Haynes' quilts are found in several museum collections, including the American Folk Art Museum, the Seattle Art Museum, Duke University, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Newark Museum.

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