Bay Area artist Christine Meuris focuses on translating traditional home-based arts executed in fabric and fiber into works on and of paper. Her inspirations come from quilting patterns, needlepoint patterns, and woven tapestry. She uses bookbinding cloth, a stiff, loosely woven fabric, to secure paper seams. During the pandemic year while things felt simultaneously dangerous and vague, and social systems revealed themselves to be more fragile than previously imaginable, she began exposing and working with more of this transparent scrim.
In her show Veiled, Meuris explores the idea of casting off self-protection and ignorance with these new semi-transparent works. The show’s title references the “Veil of Illusion,” the veil between the world of the living and the dead. But the inquiry behind these works is about who is protected by the veil—by the not knowing—and who suffers. What is the proper role of illusion? By creating a “cloak” that cannot actually cloak, a “shroud” large enough to function as a burial shroud but that shrouds nothing, and a “veil” that cannot conceal, Meuris is thinking about the ways in which the pandemic year forced a reckoning. It laid bare the dishonesty of our national founding myths, the danger of unfettered globalization, and the unequal distribution of risk and death among the U.S. population and now the world.
Meuris’ use of the alchemical symbol for the elements (the triangle) to create pattern—especially in the Alchemy: Elements series—suggests that a return to a deeper and more respectful relationship with nature is a key part of the way forward. Meuris’ work is a fervent prayer that, having seen how truly thin the veil between life and death is, there will be no going “back to normal” and that going forward truthfully without obfuscation can be beautiful.
Christine Meuris is an artist living and working in Berkeley. She has shown her work in solo and group shows locally, notably at the Berkeley Art Center, Hello Stitch Sewing and Quilting Studio, and in group shows around the U.S. She was the inaugural Digital Artist in Residence at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles during the pandemic. She has work in the collections of the City of Berkeley, the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, Kaiser Permanente and the Four Seasons Residences, as well as in several private collections.
Work from Christine Meuris is available for online purchase, click here.