Currents 38: Christy Matson

February 25–July 17, 2022
Bradley Family Gallery

The woven pictures featured in Currents 38 resemble contemporary paintings, yet they are deeply rooted in weaving traditions. Using a digital jacquard loom, the Los Angeles–based artist Christy Matson (b. 1979) pairs new ideas and technologies with her knowledge of the centuries-old craft to create thoughtful, innovative compositions.

Though she works with textiles, Matson thinks of herself as a painter. Her woven pictures participate in minimalism, abstraction, and decoration and, hung on a wall, are not utilitarian. She employs historical weaving structures and techniques to explore memory; the gendered history of textile production, long considered a feminized form of labor; and issues around sustainability. Matson’s work honors the traditional medium and reflects the strong, recent embrace of fiber by contemporary artists.

Currents 38 presents more than 40 of Matson’s woven pictures, including never-before-seen works she made for the exhibition. The Museum’s Currents series began in 1982 to highlight new trends in contemporary art. Currents exhibitions have featured the work of artists Rachel Harrison, Cindy Sherman, and Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and of craftspeople Richard DeVore, Gord Peteran, and Robert Turner, among others. Matson is the first fiber artist to be featured in the Currents exhibition series.

A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition and is the first publication dedicated to Matson’s woven work.

Presenting Sponsor: Milwaukee Art Museum’s Friends of Art
This research was supported by a Craft Research Fund grant from the Center for Craft Center for Craft logo
The Milwaukee Art Museum extends its sincere thanks to the 2022 Visionaries:Donna and Donald BaumgartnerMurph BurkeJoel and Caran QuadracciSue and Bud SeligJeff and Gail Yabuki and the Yabuki Family Foundation

Exhibitions originally scheduled for 2020 at the Milwaukee Art Museum are made possible by the 2020 Visionaries: Donna and Donald Baumgartner, John and Murph Burke, Sheldon and Marianne Lubar, Joel and Caran Quadracci, Sue and Bud Selig, and Jeff and Gail Yabuki and the Yabuki Family Foundation.

  • Christy Matson (American, b. 1979), Magical Thinking, 2020. Acrylic, spray paint, and dye on paper and mixed fibers. Purchase, with funds from Joel and Caran Quadracci and the Windhover Foundation M2021.787
  • Christy Matson (American, b. 1979), Full Moon Forest, 2016. Cotton, wool, and linen. Collection of Monica Schaffer. Image courtesy Volume Gallery, Chicago
  • Christy Matson (American, b. 1979), Rose Knot Variation, 2020. Linen, paper thread painted with acrylic and spray paints, and wool. The Art Institute of Chicago, Textile Society Acquisition Fund, 2020.270. Image courtesy of Volume Gallery, Chicago