Think of textiles and fabric; rugs and quilts may come to mind. But, spend time walking through the exhibit Textile Meditations: Mary Fisher and Friends at the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach, and you will come away changed.
The exhibit's driving force is Mary Fisher, an internationally known artist, author and aids activist.
Since childhood, Fisher has worked in media as diverse as photography, pencil, handmade papers, sculpture, constructed fabrics, and innovative stitching.
In the exhibit, which runs through February 10, Fisher is joined by 4 other artists; London’s Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn, and Americans Jane Dunnewold and Marsha Christo.
Together, these five artists explore the art of textile construction from five perspectives, each engaging the powers of color, shape, size, and texture to evoke a spiritual response ranging from worry to celebration.
"Textiles have always been something I loved. I started weaving in 7th grade. I have always loved texture," Fisher says.
Art, she says, is very therapeutic for her. "It's where I go when times are hard or great. I go to my studio."
This past year has been filled with hard times. First, the devastating loss of Mary's mother Marjorie.
Then, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy.
Cancer is not the only difficult diagnosis during Mary's life.
She lives each day with HIV.
In the early 90s, Mary learned her late husband had infected her with the virus.
She became an outspoken HIV/AIDS activist for the prevention, education and for the compassionate treatment of people with HIV and AIDS.
She is noted for speeches before two Republican conventions: Houston in 1992 and San Diego in 1996.
Her 1992 speech has been hailed as "one of the best American speeches of the 20th century."
She founded a non-profit organization to fund HIV/AIDS research and education, the Mary Fisher Clinical AIDS Research and Education (CARE) Fund.
Her mission continues today.
"It's important we talk about how to protect yourself. It's important to talk about testing because younger people think this is a disease of another generation; it's not. It's here and rising again."
Activism and empowerment are woven into every fiber of Mary Fisher and her art. "That's what the show is all about. Honoring abilities and what we all bring to it as women."
The Armory Art Center is Located at:
811 Park Place
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401
(1/2 Mile south of the Kravis Center)
Monday - Friday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am - 3:30 pm