Sunday, May 28, 2023
HomeArtsElizabeth Talford Scott at Goya Contemporary

Elizabeth Talford Scott at Goya Contemporary

Sadly, while Elizabeth Talford Scott’s unwavering contributions to fiber art deserve wide acclaim, she is underappreciated outside of Baltimore, where she lived from the early 1940s until her death in 2011 at the age of 95. She has not been acclaimed in the landmark travel exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, 2017-20, which debuted at Tate Modern in London, or in the more recent survey Called to Create: Black Artists of the American South”, 2022–23, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. An extensive but concise retrospective covering nearly two decades of Scott’s textile-based oeuvre in thirteen extraordinary works partially rectifies these omissions.

Scott was born in 1916 on a plantation near Chester, South Carolina to a family of sharecroppers. He learned to reuse discarded materials and learned to quilt at an early age. These indelible lessons formed the cornerstone of her unhindered art, which is often adorned with a catholic array of brilliant objects. Gaze at the iridescent surfaces of these intricately stitched fusions and behold a tactile hodgepodge sure to satisfy even the most voracious viewer. Take The Whosit family, 1995, a five-foot-tall egg ecstatically adorned with patterned fabrics, buttons, beads, stones, shells, sequins, and other odds and ends. Or consider Upside down, 1992, another rampant, wall-mounted and trinket-laden piece of a similar size. As with fractals, the more you look, the more there is to discover. The visual feast continues, reaching a celebratory crescendo Birthday, 1997, which is adorned with dozens of faux pearls along its wavy edge. Playing by their own rules, Scott’s Byzantine creations delight in a kind of unfettered abundance that’s bountiful, dizzying, and truly unforgettable.



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