Space One Eleven
2409 Second Avenue North
Birmingham, AL 35203
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday October 2, 2012
Contact: Binx Newton
Phone: (205) 328-0553 ext. 27
Space One Eleven Presents
Opening Reception, November 9, 2012, 6-8PM
Birmingham, ALABAMA— Space One Eleven (SOE) presents “Relationships,” an exhibition honoring Birmingham’s beloved artist, Toni Tully (1939-2010), a pioneer in Birmingham’s contemporary arts. Along with selected works by Toni Tully, including watercolors, fabric, and paintings, the show will feature the works by her daughter, Rebecca Tully Fulmer, as well as the following prominent artists who had close professional relationships with Tully: Sara Garden Armstrong, Catherine Cabaniss, Carol Cooper, Carolyn Goldsmith, Beverly Erdreich, Scott Fuller, Betty Kent (deceased), Scott Stephens, Cumbee Tyndal, Ellen de Mello Weiland (deceased), and Maralyn Wilson.
The exhibition will open Friday, November 9, 2012 from 6:00pm-8:00pm at 2407 2nd Ave North, downtown Birmingham.
“Relationships” honors Tully’s life and lifelong exploration of new techniques, materials and equipment in the making of art. Her works were inspired by her time spent with three Japanese artists: Junichi Arai; a developer of new polyester fibers used by many contemporary designers; Yoshiko Wada, an international shibori artist and advocate of the ancient Japanese tradition; and Junco Sato Pollack, a master of printing on polyester using the heat sublimation process. “These artists, and many other contemporary artists, have reinforced my belief that the making of art and fashion should be seriously examined.” Under Arai, Wade and Pollock’s tutelage, she learned to disperse dyes to polyester fabrics using the heat sublimation technique. In the past, Tully had worked exclusively with silks, but the polyester fabrics introduced a new layer to her work.
By training and experience Tully was a painter and a seamstress. She showed paintings for many years and needle arts consumed her interest since childhood. Tully comes from a long line of women who worked in the textile arts. She studied methods of painting on textiles for many years, processes that are similar to those used by Japanese artists for centuries. In 2002, Tully attended the International Shibori Conference in Harrogate, England with artists from all over the world, exploring the different forms of shibori that trace back to the 4th century.
When using silk, the fabric is stretched on bamboo stretchers, called shinshi. She then used several different kinds of dyes, as well as resists (painting solutions used to keep dyes from penetrating), and dis-charge solutions (to remove existing dyes). When using these multiple techniques, the process may take days or even weeks to complete.
Tully used two processes on polyester: one is a heat sublimation process that begins with mixing dyes that come in powdered form and are mixed with water and several chemicals to form a dark liquid. It can be very difficult to predict what colors will emerge. The dyes are then painted on paper and transferred to the fabric using a high heat press. Tully also used heat to melt and then shape the polyester fibers to make permanent pleats and shapes in the fabric.
Tully liked to explore the histories of designers such as Poiret and Fortuny, writers such as Marcel Proust, and painters like Whistler – more specifically, how they use clothing in their art. Tully always preferred working with textiles. Her mother sewed Vogue patterns, and Tully would play with the scraps and put colors together. She also liked painting. Her father had an advertising agency (back then they used pencils and paints rather than computers) and she would go with him to work on the weekends and make a big wonderful mess with all their supplies.
In 1997, Tully was chosen, along with other “wearable artists” to visit and study in the workrooms of the great couturiers of Paris and London. “There has been a noticeable melding of couture fashion and the world of fine arts in the last several years, both in Europe and the United States”, and this inspired Tully to be sure that each piece of clothing is a unique piece of art. “It is my desire that the colors and designs will literally jump off the [fabric] to the viewer.”