Apophatic Quilt, discarded quilt, indigo-dyed silk thread, and 24k gold thread, 42″ x 48,” 2021.
For the first two months of quarantine, I found myself unable to make art. When an artist friend sent me an artwork she’d made for me, I wanted to send her something in return. The need to make art to give away jumpstarted my making again, and for most of quarantine, I made intimate, paper-based work, much of it gifted to friends and strangers.
I had purchased this tattered, discarded, hand-sewn quilt on eBay several years ago. It was sold to me as a ‘mourning quilt,’ which is a quilt made of the clothing of a deceased loved one. I am not sure if this quilt is an actual mourning quilt, but clearly it was used for many years, as the fabric shows significant wear and fraying. When I took it out of its storage box, I was struck by how the back of the quilt looked like the night sky. I decided to repair the front of the quilt with 24k gold thread and have the back serve as the front.
Apophatic theology is describing the divine or sacred by what it is not. This conceptual practice is present in many traditions. I am a student of Zen, and in our tradition, we do not stop with ‘not this.’ What is ‘not this’ is also ‘not not this.’ Everything is empty of a separate existence, a separate self, and therefore what is “not” also “is.” I felt compelled to embroider these two phrases across the entire quilt as an offering, a prayer.
Included in USC Fisher Museum of Art’s Art and Hope at the End of the Tunnel Exhibition, curated by Edward Goldman, 2021.