Carolyn Mazloomi: Whole Cloth, Narratives in Black and White

3 September - 16 November 2024

Carolyn Mazloomi

A self taught quilter working in the medium for over 55 years, Carolyn Mazloomi has had her works exhibited in well over 80 museums across the country. “These are not the quilts that grandma made,” the artist says; “I create art that deals with tough subjects that people may not normally want to talk about.” Considered to be one of the first artists to use the medium of quilting to further her social justice causes, Mazloomi speaks out on issues of police reform, equality in the public school system, literacy in Black neighborhoods, gun violence awareness, and inequality in voting rights. 

 

“I love the tactile nature of cloth,” Mazloomi says. “It’s a familiar material. We as human beings have a lifelong relationship with cloth. It’s the first thing we’re swathed in at birth. It’s the last thing that touches our body upon our death.” To be wrapped in a quilt is a source of comfort and belonging.

 

Mazloomi now works exclusively in black and white, making her striking creations jump out at their viewers with the high contrast and detail of a linocut.  Black and white images leave no room for nostalgia or romanticized subject matter; there is nothing to get between the viewer and the story the artist needs to share with us. We say, “It’s black and white” when we want to state something clearly.  Indeed, none of the stories Mazloomi is telling have come to a resolution; she is inviting conversation, and dialogue is the only way to move our country and our society forward.