Personal Geometry: Quilts by Yoshiko Jinzenji and Virginia Jean Cox Mitchell

Gallery 316

This exhibition features two artists whose work redefines the quilt genre and whose innovative ideas are as powerful as their quilts.

Master quilter Yoshiko Jinzenji creates objects of beauty from her studios in Japan and Indonesia. She has been inspired by North American Amish and Mennonite artisan traditions, Asian dyeing and weaving techniques, and the Mandala. She seeks to create “shadows and light, and to find a balance between minimalism and a sense of richness.” The concentrated strength of her artistry transforms cloth, whether through quilting and piecing or by natural dyeing, which she considers a complementary process.

Hailing from Kansas, Virginia Jean Cox Mitchell creates quilts based on historical and personal research and symbolic forms, all pieced, appliquéd, and stitched by hand. Her quilts and quilt tops feature rich combinations of text and textile, drawing inspiration from a wide variety of subjects. In addition to producing these major works of art, Mitchell has made twenty-eight different quilt blocks about Kansas and authored the book Quilt Kansas!, published in conjunction with the Kansas Quilt Symposium in 1978.

The exhibited quilts are drawn from the significant gifts that each artist independently made to the Museum’s collection. In 2007, Yoshiko donated her life’s work of quilts to the Museum, the only repository of her work in Kansas. In 2013, Mitchell and her husband generously donated her body of work to the Spencer. The gift includes quilt blocks and nearly twenty quilts and quilt tops, plus pillow covers and a banner. We are humbled by the astonishing gifts from both artists, and we are delighted to share their quilts with visitors through this exhibition.

Selected images