The exhibition “Astrid Hilger Bennett: The Tarp Series” will be on view from Dec. 17 through Feb. 1 in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery.
Over decades, Bennett’s work has focused on painted, printed and dyed textiles in the form of wall pieces and functional items. In her current body of work, she also includes drawing and mixed media, creating large tarps and small scrolls.
With the artworks, Bennett asks: What is the role of art in a fraught, modern society ruled by technology and uncertainty? What does it mean to be a maker under circumstances where political comment, identity and narrative are a primary conversation? Is there a role for creative expression in non-narrative ways, much like the role that music performs?
“I see tarps as protective, versatile, adaptive. These embody the best attributes of textiles as installation or sculpture, with the addition of gestures common in painting, printing and mixed media,” Bennett said. “Part object, part theater set, these pieces can be used interchangeably in standard exhibitions or in installation indoors or out. Scrolls even accompany me on travels, with opportunities for drawing and photography in unaccustomed settings.”
Bennett has exhibited her work nationally and internationally since 1993. Earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in printmaking from Indiana University in 1975, she has attended and taught at numerous residencies and workshops including the Penland School of Crafts, Rhode Island School of Design, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, and the University of Iowa. She is president of the Surface Design Association, an international membership organization devoted to innovation in textile and fiber art.
The Hillestad Gallery is located on the second floor of the Home Economics Building, 1650 N. 35th St. It is open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment. Admission is free. Guest parking is available near the Home Economics Building and in metered stalls in the Nebraska East Union lot. For more information, click here or call 402-472-2911.