Flower / Xewa Cantons
Consuelo Underwood, Fiber Arts
Opening Reception: Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 5:00 p.m.
Exhibit remains through July 4, 2010
Gualala Arts Center
Gualala Arts is honored to present FLOWER / XEWA CANTONS, a showing of fiber arts by Consuelo Jimenez Underwood from the opening Saturday, April 10 through Sunday, July 4 in the Jacob Foyer.
The exhibition will include an inter-active mixed-media installation and indigo-dyed tapestries, representing "slices of the American flag." In this work, the artist is attempting to "shift the nation's gaze from the stars back to our Earth and its flowers." Visitors will be able to walk through the stripes of Old Glory, and enjoy the woven cantons of an American dream. Xewa is the word for flower in the Yaqui language, an American indigenous tribe whose homelands have been cut open by the US/MEX border.
Empowered by the voices of her maternal ancestors, Consuelo J. Underwood's artwork has always been, conceptually or formally, textile/fiber based. Over thirty years ago, when "craft vs. art" was the most divisive issue in the arts, Consuelo J. Underwood crossed the intellectual borders that separated the hand and the mind from the fine art spirit.
Consuelo has her studio in Gualala, where she lives and a home in Cupertino where she works. In addition to working on this new show for Gualala Arts, Ms. Underwood, in collaboration with a former student, Betty Davis, is involved in the design and construction of POWER POINTS BORDER X-INGS a 20' x 50' wall installation for the Triton Museum in Santa Clara this spring. She will be a panelist for the 2010 SDA/SAQA conference to be held in San Francisco at San Francisco State University in March. In June, Consuelo will be one of the artists to participate in the Distinguished Artist Series, hosted by the James Renwick Alliance, at the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. Ms. Underwood will be presenting a lecture and workshop entitled "POLITICAL FIBERS." This fall, Ms. Underwood will be included in the PBS award-winning documentary series, CRAFT IN AMERICA.
The Triangle Flag quilt began the whole concept of flowers instead of stars in our canton. The flowers that are embroidered are the state flowers of the four southern "border fence"states. These flowers and other wildlife will be greatly impacted by the construction of a wall-border that would create a wasteland on the American continent, if we let it happen.
Consuelo was featured on SPARKS, KQED in June 2003. In the episode "Threads," we meet Ms. Underwood at her studio in Gualala, and then follow her to San Jose, as she constructs "DIASPORA," an installation at the San Jose Museum of Art for the "Un/Familiar Territory" exhibition. Discussing her roles as both artist and professor at San Jose State University, which she also visits during this segment, Underwood raises two important issues that have surfaced in textiles recently -- the contemporary interest in textiles as an expressive art form and the legacy of textiles as a craft traditionally practiced by women.
In the early eighties, Underwood broke through the conceptual wall that divided art and craft. Underwood does not create textiles in the traditional sense, but she constructs textile/fiber forms to express personal ideas the same way that a painter or sculptor might.
She did this by combining traditional textile materials with those not commonly used (barbed wire, plastic coated wire and safety pins) to create art works that express ideas about politics, land and spirit.
Currently, she is actively producing artwork, lecturing and writing. Her works are in the Permanent Collections of The Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art, Washington, DC, Museum of Art & Design (MAD), New York, NY, National Hispanic Center for the Arts, Albuquerque, NM and the Oakland Museum of Art, Oakland, CA.
Recently retired from San Jose State University, Ms. Underwood was Head of the Textiles/Fiber Area at San Jose State University for more then twenty years. It was there where Consuelo influenced many students who are very active in the contemporary fiber art world.
"I begin with a cone or skein of thread, and often, a piece of fabric. When I weave, sew or embellish, the old ones seem to express their encouragement and support of my creations."
To find out more about Consuelo Jimenez Underwood and her art, visit
The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, CA,
is open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information, or email
Serving the coastal communities of northern Sonoma & southern Mendocino Counties.