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UM Museum Hosts Textile Exhibit by Mary Zicafoose

‘Mountain for Buddha’ is among the tapestry images on display at the UM Museum as part of Mary Zicafoose’s ‘Fault Lines’ exhibit. Submitted photo
The University of Mississippi Museum’s newest exhibit, “Fault Lines,” a unique tapestry exhibit by artist Mary Zicafoose, ties an ancient art form with modern concerns in a vibrant, captivating array.
Curated from three of Zicafoose’s collections – “Fault Lines,” “Mountain for the Buddha” and the “Blueprint Series” – the exhibit is on display in the museum’s Lower Skipwith Gallery through Feb. 3, 2018.
Each piece, based on classic archetypal symbols, depicts climate change through the artist’s representation of tectonic plates, fault lines and land shifts. Zicafoose’s tapestries and rugs have been exhibited around the world, including in American embassies on three continents.
“You make art and you want to draw people in,” Zicafoose said. “You want to get people involved in the work. You want to tell your story, but also one of the primary driving forces is I hope that the work can trigger a shift in consciousness of people.
“That’s part of the mission. It may be pretentious or lofty or maybe just stupidly nuts, but that’s my driving force and I have had those experiences in the arts, where I’ve seen something that made me different. Something happens in that moment and that’s the role of the arts – to lift the vibrational frequency for mankind as we toil on this planet.”
Having a show in Mississippi is special, she said.
“This is a place where people come for that,” she explained. “To be a participant in that process is a very distinct honor and responsibility to bring work here that will do that.”
Her love for textiles began as a child, when she was fascinated by a piece of Pacific Island cloth an aunt gave her.
“After many formative years of art schooling and teaching, I somewhat surprisingly found myself behind a loom,” she said on her website. “I have spent the last 22 years in pursuit of visual surprise on the flat woven ‘rug’ surface through dye processes, tapestry techniques and intriguing color play.
“Weaving has become my ticket into the arts – it is a personal vernacular that speaks about the unabashed use of color and the power of illusion.”
A largely self-taught weaver, Zicafoose earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts at St. Mary’s College at Notre Dame. She studied in graduate programs at the Art Institute of Chicago and University of Nebraska.
“The University Museum is thrilled to present the work of this major American tapestry artist and weaver, whose work is exhibited internationally in 24 U.S. embassies and museum and corporate collections nationwide,” museum Director Robert Saarnio said.
“Mary’s pieces are exceptionally vibrant, and elegant in their colorways, symbolism and the complexity of the ikat process, and we were compelled by her description of her work: ‘I create contemporary tapestry, pushing the boundary of this ancient art form, to investigate the intricacies of how we, as individuals, are tied to one another.'”
The University Museum, at the corner of University Avenue and Fifth Street, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. Admission is free.
To learn more about Zicafoose and her work, visit https://maryzicafoose.com/. For more information about the museum and its exhibits, visit https://museum.olemiss.edu/.

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