The need to create is an integral part of the human condition, manifesting itself differently from individual to individual, but necessary for a fully realized existence. We wish to produce something where before there was nothing. Creativitiy is not product but action, the exploration of "making" as a search for beauty and perfection. Creativity is also spirituality, a search for meaning and insight into ourselves and our place in the universe. And not least, creativity is probem solving, an exercise of the intellect to find new solutions and new ways of seeing.
The instinctive drive to create may be related to the evolutionary success of humans as toolmakers. In ancient and modern times people have sought to bring beauty into everyday life. Creativity through the crafting of objects with functional reference has a place in social pattern. Craft objects reflect the common experiences of many. They link us to our past and express new ideas.
Quilting is grounded in American history, family, community and common experience. Art quilts are a living document of cultural history expressing artistic, emotional and spiritual values, particularly those of women. I use quilts to transpose function and symbol, art and craft, and to express ideas about creativity and community.
For old work see historical.eleanormccain.net
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".... 9 Patch Color Study 3 is remarkable, even irresistible, for even as the artist has selected a very traditional quilting design, her improvisational approach to cropping, scale, coloration and repetitition have resulted in a dramatic and visually compelling art work."
Mark Richard Leach, Director,
Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art
Joan Loewenberg, artist.
“…anyone who could produce such a huge and beautiful piece, simple in design but complex in arrangement, must be someone she could trust….McCain’s integrity shone through.”
“A deceptively simple and quiet work but with major impact, Red Rectangle on Blue by Eleanor McCain was hung directly opposite the gallery entrance and just could not be ignored.”
Lennie Bennett, Times art critic. “Past Perfect/Present Tense”
“…are a pleasure, as are Eleanor McCain’s wall hangings, which are Byzantine in their richness.”
Elizabeth Ann Coleman, Juror: “Exit/Entrance Exhibit”
“And finally for this juror there was Eleanor McCain’s Red Squares”: so traditional, so contemporary; so bold, so calming; so simple, so complex; just so right.”
Michele Natale, Art Forum, “2nd Annual Textile Art Exhibit”
“Eleanor McCain’s elegant, restrained Black/Brown Study……acts almost as a ‘palette cleanser’, providing quiet unity and respite from the otherwise festive cacophony of the rest of the show.”
Marina D. Whitman, Ph.D., “Beyond the Fringe”
“Patch together a multitude of multicolored rectangles in Eleanor McCain’s quilt. Superimpose a big red wobbly grid upon it. The pattern becomes manageable and readable.”
Darius Yektai, The Southampton Press, October 11, 2001
“The best moments in the show belong to Eleanor McCain, who, working in a Southern tradition of quilt making, has produced some very sophisticated fine art. The colors in the patchwork possess a light, a shift in tonality, variation in saturation of color, and a texture of absorption unique to hand-dyed fabric.”
Mimi Sherman, American Folk Art Museum,Quilt Connection, Winter 2002, Vol. 14, No.1
“Red/Blue Squares, the commanding creation of Eleanor A. McCain, grabs the viewer’s eye and demands close attention, which it rewards with exciting variations on its color theme.”
John Greenwald, The Sun, Lowell, MA, August 22, 2002
“Eleanor McCain’s ‘Red Rectangle on Blue’…understated changes of color…rescue the piece from rigidity, making it an impressive variation of the color field school of painting.”
Mark Richard Leach, Director, Southeaster Center for Contemporary Art
"Eleanor McCain's compelling sense of color and form closely resemble symphonic structures well known for their emotive qualities."