Stark art exhibit interprets biblical questions with printed cloth images

Sarah James

Logan Baker, graduate student of jewelry metals, sits in The Digital Cloth art exhibit in the lower level of KSU Stark Campus’ Main Hall, ready to inform students of the meaning behind artist Vince Quevedo’s work. Sean M. Mathis | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

When museum patrons visit professor Vincent Quevedo’s exhibit, he expects them to walk away with more questions than when they came.

“The Digital Cloth: Images That Make You Go Hmmm…” interprets biblical themes in nontraditional ways.

Held at the Main Gallery at Kent State Stark Campus, the exhibit opened Friday and ends Oct. 23. Quevedo will be hosting a gallery talk and reception at 5 p.m. today.

Quevedo said he began questioning his own purpose and beliefs when he was diagnosed with cancer in 2004.

“There was a time when I was going through my illness that I became more spiritual,” he said. “I started looking at things that I was taught and how it has succumbed to social forces. Now I just want to voice it. I want to share it with people.”

The exhibit features digitally printed silks and quilts based on religious themes. Quevedo derived inspiration from the Sistine Chapel and wanted to explore the juxtaposition of mixing digital technology with old world art.

“It’s really about challenging our interpretations and perceptions of life in general,” he said. “The show isn’t about trying to convince someone; rather, to make them think.”

Quevedo began the project when he was an apparel design instructor at the University of Nebraska. Because of the school’s conservative nature, finding people willing to model nude was a challenge. With the help of a photographer, Quevedo posed for many of the images himself.

After obtaining the images, Quevedo used Adobe Photoshop to manipulate the colors, lines and subject matter. The images were printed with the Mimaki digital fabric printer at Rockwell Hall and turned into quilts and silk fixtures.

The fabric printer works similarly to a desktop printer, but uses natural dyes instead of ink. The printer can accommodate up to 84 inches of fabric. After the fabric is printed, it must be steamed to set the dyes.

“The technical aspects are truly amazing,” said Jack McWhorter, head of the Stark campus’ art department. “The fashion school is one of only a handful of universities with this technology.”

Nicholas Sinatra, sophomore fashion design major, modeled several biblical characters for the exhibit, including Gabriel and Adam.

“I definitely think there might be some controversial messages being portrayed,” Sinatra said. “It’s just there to catalyze, not necessarily to be sacrilegious.”

Many pieces feature images printed on a sturdy silk twill fabric. A translucent silk organza replication hangs an inch in front of the original fabric and sways with the movement of museum visitors.

One hanging panel depicts Adam and Eve duplicated over and over on a background of black and white text. Upon closer inspection, the panel reads: “Forgive me father, for I have sinned.”

“It is sort of controversial, because here is a professor in the nude,” Quevedo said.

With the help of fashion school technologist James Ahmad, Quevedo was able to translate his concept into reality. This multilayered effect lends 3-dimensional qualities to an otherwise 2-dimensional medium.

“I wanted the viewer to get involved with my art,” Quevedo said. “I just don’t want them to stand there and look at it. I want them to inspect. It’s about interpretation and perception.”

Quevedo considers his art to be continuous because he never stops creating and asking questions about life’s purpose.

“I don’t have answers, but I certainly have questions,” he said.

Contact fashion reporter Sarah James at [email protected].