Rowland Ricketts, American, b. 1971, Zurashi/Slipped, Indigo dyed naturally colored cotton, and wood, 13 x 43 x 6', 2023. Loan from the Artist. Image from installation at Seattle Art Museum.

Rowland Ricketts: Invisible Forces

May 18, 2024 - September 01, 2024

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Bloomington-based artist Rowland Ricketts utilizes natural dyes and historical processes to create contemporary textiles that bridge art and design. Rowland Ricketts: Invisible Forces displays two types of works typical of his unique practice: immersive installation and weavings inspired by historical textiles.

Zurashi/Slipped is a flowing, floor to ceiling installation initially commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum in 2023, produced in collaboration with Ricketts’ wife, Chinami, an ikat weaver. Ricketts equates the repetitive and time-consuming nature of his installations with the year-long process of growing and composting Persicaria tinctoria leaves on his farm, whose indigo colors his work.

Also displayed are pieces drawn from Ricketts’ interest in historical textiles: in this case, nineteenth century American coverlets. Ricketts views these red, white, and blue works as embodiments and expressions of American national identity. The cotton, historically grown by enslaved people and spun in Northeastern mills, mixes with wool steeped in indigo, madder, cochineal, and brazilwood—signals of colonial globalism. In Ricketts’ words, “The material content of these textiles speaks much more directly to our nation’s history than any visual stories they tell.”

This exhibition was curated by Sachi Yanari Rizzo, Curator of Prints & Drawings, and is supported by the Edward D. and Ione Auer Foundation.