Ancient Peruvian Textiles · The Fifi White Collection

Johnson County Community College Gallery of Art opens a new exhibition, Ancient Peruvian TextilesThe Fifi White Collection, May 1 – June 15, 2005. The opening preview and reception are scheduled from 3-5 p.m. Sunday, May 1, with a lecture by Douglas Dawson, owner Douglas Dawson Gallery, Chicago, who specializes in ancient and historic non-Western art, at 3:30 p.m. in room 211 of the Carlsen Center.

The Gallery of Art will exhibit 31 Peruvian textiles on loan from the collection of Fifi White, longtime area resident and former co-owner of Asiatica, who now resides in Berkeley, California. Assembled over many years, White’s collection reflects her keen contemporary aesthetic and is an extraordinary achievement. This is the first presentation of her collection, and it is a rare opportunity for public viewing.

The artistic activity that yielded these graphic, vibrant, sensuous works of textile art unfolded within a world that existed 500 to 1,500 years ago in a hemisphere and culture apart from European influence. Yet there is a vital connection between pre-Columbian aesthetics and modern painters and sculptors. Displaying these woven, painted, embroidered and feathered Andean textiles in the setting of a contemporary art gallery brings the similarities in geometry, space, proportion, color and rhythm in Andean and Western aesthetics to light. An essay by Vanessa Drake Moraga, curator for the University of California at Berkley, accompanies the exhibition, detailing the textiles’ importance in art and society.

“The affinity between the compositional structures, color planes and geometries of these ancient textiles and works by Paul Klee, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and even Ad Reinhardt or Jasper Johns is frequently noted,” Drake Moraga writes . “Our sense of pleasure in, and ‘familiarity’ with, Andean modes of expression may be largely informed by modern art practices and discourse; its more fascinating corollary, however, is that latter-day abstractionists took significant impetus from the visual ideas and icons of the impressive early American cultures.”