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Suspended Landscapes: Thread Drawings by Amanda McCavour

Suspended Landscapes: Thread Drawings by Amanda McCavour will hang in museum’s original building starting March 11, 2022

MADISON, Wis. – To commemorate the Chazen Museum of Art’s 50th anniversary, Toronto-based artist Amanda McCavour created an installation in Paige Court, the heart of the museum’s original 1970 Elvehjem building.

McCavour, who works with fabric and stitching to create large-scale embroidered installations, developed a new site-specific work in response to the collection and history of the Chazen Museum of Art and UW–Madison. The work will challenge the visual weight and dominating presence of the design and travertine marble of the Elvehjem building. Suspended Landscapes will be on view from March 11-Sept. 11, 2022.

“The Elvehjem Building was where our museum began, during a time of great national turmoil,” said Amy Gilman, director of the Chazen. “Amanda McCavour’s work has an assumed vulnerability, yet it also possesses great strength. Her work will offer a remarkable transformation of that space and reflection of our collection. It’s a wonderful way to celebrate all that has changed, and all that hasn’t, at the Chazen during the museum’s first 50 years.”

Amanda McCavour with her thread drawings in the Mayer Gallery.

Amanda McCavour with her thread drawings in the Mayer Gallery.

McCavour’s work is often described as drawing with thread. By sewing into fabric that dissolves in water, McCavour builds up stitched lines on a temporary surface. When the fabric is dissolved, the thread drawing holds together without a base. The crossing threads possess an unexpected strength that counters the appearance of fragility. To present these thread drawings on a monumental scale, McCavour has printed them on rolls of sheer fabric that will hang from the fourth floor and terminate in Paige Court.

During research trips, McCavour visited the botany department, the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, and the UW Libraries’ Special Collections and studied native plant specimens held in the Wisconsin State Herbarium [] and botanical works from the Chazen’s collection. McCavour will also curate a presentation of the artwork on campus that inspired her planning, alongside her own preparatory drawings, materials and the original thread drawings used to create the sheer fabric panels. Items drawn from the permanent collection include works on paper such as rare watercolors of flowers by Salvador Dalí.

“It’s an honor and a great responsibility to create in celebration of this museum’s 50th anniversary,” said McCavour. “I have enjoyed working with The Chazen and UW–Madison to gain a better understanding of both the collection and the influences of the wider Madison and Dane County landscapes.”

McCavour holds a BFA from York University, and an MFA in Fibers and Material Studies from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, PA. She shows her work nationally and internationally and has received awards and scholarships from the Ontario Crafts Council, The Handweavers and Spinners Guild of America, The Ontario Society of Artists, The Surface Design Association and The Embroiderers Guild of America.

Ode to a Prairie, 2022

Ode to a Prairie, 2022
Amanda McCavour (Canadian b. 1985)