Our Studio Sunday feature this week is Miriam Schapiro. Born in Toronto, Schapiro later moved to the United States to study art, later becoming a noted textile and collage artist and a proponent of the Pattern and Decoration movement, an art movement which sought to legitimize craft art within the fine art sphere.
Schapiro is known for her “femmages” – paintings and collages done with an eye toward a feminist aesthetic. Using traditionally feminine tools and materials, Schapiro produced works of decorative art and craft on a larger scale, with conceptual leanings that solidified her place in the fine art world.
The studio, as pictured above, is one that I find very interesting. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of cut paper, fabric scraps, or even the tools for producing textile or collage artworks. It looks like three large textile pieces are in the process of being constructed – you can see that the fabric is slightly rolled up on one side of the table, as if Schapiro is in the process of lifting it or perhaps affixing it to a substrate.
I like the combination of wildly complex patterns, visible even in black and white. Schapiro’s selection of materials and patterns has a very strong aesthetic, one that to me speaks to antique and household fabrics and furniture.
Schapiro passed away in 2015 at the age of 91. She received numerous awards throughout her career, including two honorary doctorate degrees, and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.