Lenore Tawney (1907–2007) was an American artist who is known for her groundbreaking work in fiber as well as for her drawings, collages, and assemblages.
Tawney’s innovative interpretations of traditional practices were central to shifting the perception of weaving from simply a utilitarian craft to fiber art as we know it today. Her experimentation with open-warp techniques resulted in gauzy, loose works of a nonfunctional, free-flowing nature. In what she referred to as “woven forms,” Tawney’s unorthodox sculptural works took weaving beyond the expected flat rectangular format, moving fiber art off the wall and into three-dimensional space.
Earlier this month, the Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, WI (www.jmkac.org) opened a long-anticipated retrospective of her work, which I visited over a gloomy Lake Michigan weekend. It brought back memories of time spent in her studio when I was a college student in New York in the early 1980s. She was a free spirit who made some of the most compelling and enduring works I’ve ever known.