By Michaela DeLauter, Story and Photographs
A quilted housecoat with a woman’s bikini-clad torso is not quite your grandma’s homewear.
But artist Natalie Baxter was inspired by memories of her grandmother padding around the house in the casual, comfy attire of the day.
Baxter, born in Kentucky, is one of 10 artists and groups whose work is on exhibition at Denison Museum, on the campus of the college by the same name, in Ohio.
“Natalie was trying to make art while at home and she started making these housecoats. These are oversized, they’re huge, and what’s alluring about them is they are colorful and they are fun. It opens up conversations about women’s bodies, and about women’s work,” said Megan Hancock, senior curator of education and exhibitions at Denison.
The show ran through April 10 in Granville — but you can also see many of the pieces online.
Appalachia, as defined by the federal government, spans 13 states from the southern edges of New York to northern Georgia and Alabama.
The show aims to convey the complexity of this region that’s been often stereotyped.
One artist used drought-resistant flaxseed found in the area to weave fiber for a skirt. Climate scientists, in turn, will use her work as a jumping off point to discuss climate change, which is causing shifts in weather patterns.
“Rather than rely on tired stereotypes of this region’s struggles, this exhibit draws on the talents of artists, writers, filmmakers, and everyday people,” said Hancock. “I love the fact that some of these are for professional artists, and some are not.”
Elaine McMillion is a filmmaker who has been nominated for six Emmys. In addition to filmmaking, she works as an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee.
Natalie Baxter was born in Lexington, Ky., where she discovered her love of sewing and quilting. Baxter received her master of fine arts from the University of Kentucky and bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of the South in Tennessee. She lives in Wassic, N.Y., and has been featured in exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad.
Chase Bowman returned to his hometown of Princeton, W.Va., after receiving a master of fine arts in Columbus, Ohio, where he hosts art-making workshops, teaches art at Concord University, and opened Holler: Contemporary Appalachian Art Gallery. His work is inspired by the aesthetics of older comic books.
Black in Appalachia is a nonprofit that highlights the history and contributions of African Americans and their culture.
By Kimberly Palmiero
By Carmen Gentile // Photographs by The Oberports
By Carmen Gentile // Photographs by Viktor Mácha