I have a fine arts degree in painting but I never felt it connected with me. I was struggling to find my own voice when one of my professors at Howard University noted that I always dressed in a multitude of patterns and textures. One day he looked at my paint splattered combat boots and lace palazzo pants and suggested I use fabric in my work. He advised me to look at the collages of Romare Bearden and incorporate fabric into my paintings. It wasn’t until I was studying for my masters that I made my first quilt, abandoning the canvas all together. — Bisa Butler

In conjunction with the Art Institute of Chicago exhibition BISA BUTLER—PORTRAITS, Nancy Chen will lead a conversation focused on the artist’s creative process.

See link below to register for this online event.


Art Institute of Chicago

Wednesday, November 18.

Noon on the West Coast; 2 pm Chicago; 3 pm East Coast.

Bisa Butler, Portraits, Art Institute of Chicago, November 16, 2020–April 19, 2021, from top: Dear Mama, 2019, quilted and appliquéd cotton, wool and chiffon, collection of Scott and Cissy Wolfe; Anaya with Oranges, 2017, Dimmitt Davies Collection; I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, 2019; Southside Sunday Morning, 2018; The Broom Jumpers, 2019, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; The Safety Patrol, 2018, Cavigga Family Trust Fund. Images © Bisa Butler, courtesy of the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery, New York.

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