Rosie Lee Tompkins, who is considered by some to be the greatest quilter who ever lived, rarely made a quilt. That is because she was almost exclusively concerned with pieced tops, the sewn together pieces of fabric that form the top layer of a traditional quilt. To “quilt” is to add an inner batting and backing to the pieced top, giving the textile substance, strength and greater capacity for warmth. Tompkins, however, was primarily focused on the visual (and spiritual) aspects of her works, not their everyday functionality. Of her over five hundred works, the vast majority were either quilted by others (women whom Tompkins never met) or left unquilted.

So, it is a rare opportunity to see, in this exhibition, seven textiles that Tompkins quilted herself.Lawrence Rinder

Seven previously unseen works by Tompkins are now on view in San Francisco. See link below for details.


Through February 19.

Anthony Meier Fine Arts

1969 California Street, San Francisco.

Rosie Lee Tompkins, Anthony Meier Fine Arts, January 15, 2021–February 19, 2021, from top: Untitled, n.d., cotton khaki sateen (man’s shirt), cotton knit, nylon flag, cotton thread, backed with nylon flag (synthetic); Untitled, n.d., cotton sheeting, cotton polyester, acrylic yarn; Untitled, n.d., wool challis, velvet, velveteen, panné velvet, cotton batik, woven blanket, cotton gingham heavy cotton knit, printed cotton (probably Indian bedspread), rip-stop nylon, plaid cotton flannel, cotton knit garment, gold on black metallic print (synthetic), gold on black metallic woven (synthetic), commercially embroidered cotton, backed by wool challis with wool yarn and cotton thread; Untitled, n.d., cotton undergarments with elastic, cotton yarn; Untitled, 2004, polyester double knit, wool acrylic blend, cotton broadcloth (backing), wool yarn; Untitled, 2005–2006, polyester mens’ ties, cotton fabric, denim, polyester Christmas print, cotton thread.

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