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Heart-Felt Installations By Meredith Setser

Dittmar Memorial Gallery spring exhibition runs through May 13

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April 3, 2012 | by Judy Moore
“Coalescence/Diaspora” is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily at the Dittmar Gallery, at Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, on the Evanston campus. It is free and open to the public.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The works of printmaker and textile artist Meredith Setser -- a master at transforming handmade felt into textured site-specific installations resembling two- and three-dimensional landscapes -- are on view through May 13 as part of the Northwestern University Dittmar Memorial Gallery’s spring 2012 exhibition.

Titled  “Coalescence/Diaspora,” the exhibition features the large non-woven fabric concoctions that Setser makes from the wool of sheep, lambs and alpacas and that she occasionally blends with silk.

The exhibit is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily at the Dittmar Gallery, at Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, on the Evanston campus. It is free and open to the public.

Setser’s installations range in size from five to more than 50 feet. They are composed of small fragments of printed information and patterns inspired by biology, geology and other subjects.

“Making felt is like making paper,” said the Indiana-based artist. “It is the oldest textile form known to mankind and has multiple uses even in today’s society. I love felt’s esthetic qualities and the magical process of making it.”

It takes Setser four hours or more (depending on the intricacies and overlays of natural fiber) to make each 4-by-6 foot section of felt. Once dry, she stitches sections together by hand. The colorful cording laced through some of her pieces is made by hand rolling smaller sections of felt into narrow strips.

Among the show’s highlights is “Vernal Nymphaeum,” the largest work in the exhibition. Made of multiple sections of screen-printed handmade felt, the piece unevenly snakes up and down two walls and partially down the center of the Dittmar. The result is something like a Chinese Folk Festival celebration dragon.

A multi-dimensional brown and gold-toned untitled piece made from printed felt fastened to plywood is displayed on the gallery’s south wall.

Setser, assistant professor of printmaking at Indiana University’s Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis, has shown work in the Fujian International Print Exhibition in China, the 12th Annual Washington Printmaker’s Small Print Exhibition in Washington, D.C., and solo exhibitions in Indianapolis and South Bend.

She has taught printmaking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Milwaukee School of Art and Design, and Setser presents workshops and demonstrations in felt making across the country. For more on the artist, visit www.meredithsetser.com.

For more on the exhibition, contact the Dittmar Gallery at (847) 491-2348 or Norris University Center at (847) 491-2300, email dittmargallery@northwestern.edu or visit www.dittmar.northwestern.edu.