Fabric works illustrate multiple stories

LMC Art Department features Alice Beasley: A Retrospective opened Feb. 9

Aliyah Ramirez, Staff Writer

Creative works can be demonstrated through different mediums and start a conversation. 

Oakland fabric artist, Alice Beasley showcased her outlook on life through quilts, inspired to spread awareness for political and historical change. Opening night of Alice Beasley: A Retrospective collection was featured to the public on Feb. 9 from 4-6 p.m. at the LMC library with free admission, as viewers were able to interact with Beasley and her work. 

Put together by the Los Medanos College Art Department, the gallery featured 21 fabric works varying in types of colors and materials, with intricate details running through each piece. Within a few minutes after opening, people started to file in and explore the art, with student Sopfia Martinez describing the work as “eye-opening” and Patience Isch emphasizing she was “glad to have come.”

Following an informal talk with the artist, Beasley engaged with witty humor and answered questions from participants to give insight into the ideas behind her work. 

She came from a line of women who created fabric works and used her skills in quilt-making to capture portraits of objects and people. As each piece carried a story, Beasley said she started art to “create something beautiful,” allowing those to connect through personal experiences, in addition to raising similar to contrasting opinions.  

“I have my ideas, I made it with an idea in mind but you may have a completely different idea about what this is,” explained Beasley.

Preparations for the opening began weeks prior, as Gallery Director Carol Ladewig worked with Beasley to select pieces and design the area for the show. Ladewig went through multiple combinations to create a flow between each piece throughout the tour, to allow people to stop and think.

“I think of narrative, I think of what connects one thing to another, it can be shape, color, or content,” said Ladewig. “A lot of it’s unconscious or just pure visual response to what you are doing.”

Working with each other was a “wonderful” experience said Ladewig, as they both share a love for art. Ladewig, a painter, and Beasley, a fabric artist, together were both excited to bring different kinds of art styles to LMC.

After retiring from her political career as a reporter and lawyer, Beasley became a board member of the Kala Art Institute, focused on engaging and supporting local artists’ work with the community, and her art became a passion. 

Her work features topics about colored women’s rights; for instance, the piece “she refused to walk behind,” targeted gun violence, “unidentified black man,” and economic or racial inequalities, as seen in “the swamp.” It also highlighted realistic portrayals of simple pleasures in “Tuesday in the park with George,” and everyday struggles in “contemplating next move.” 

As each piece captured a necessary time in history or provoked a particular emotion, all had a purpose in the message portrayed. The Beasley collection will continue to show in the LMC library Monday through Thursday from 12-4 p.m. from Feb. 9 to March 9, open to the public. To learn more about the artist or view her past collections please visit, https://www.alicebeasley.com