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Adela Akers
Summer and Winter, Mid-Century Tapestry, Woven Hanging, Textile Wall Sculpture




Adela Akers (b. 1933, Santiago de Compostela, Spain) is a Spanish-born textile and fiber artist. She is Professor Emeritus (1972 to 1995) at the Tyler School of Art. Her career as an artist spans the "whole history of modern fiber art.” Her work is in the Renwick Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Art and Design. Her papers (2.6 linear feet, dating from 1960 to 2009) are at the Archives of American Art. In the mid-1960s, Adela Akers also dramatically increased the scale of her woven hangings. The desire to enlarge her work and to use multiple units was stimulated by her interest in architecture, especially old buildings in her native Spain. "I look at walls as weaving"; she has explained; "I look at doors and doorways as slits." Increasing the size of her hangings also emphasized the internal structure of the piece: the elemental pattern of interlaced fibers was revealed more clearly. Beginning in the early 1970s, her work is marked by an increasing spareness of design, and the use of somber colors of similar value: brown, black, maroon. Wall pieces from the late 1970s and early 1980s often are shaped constructions, monochromatic explorations of pure woven form that stretch the definitions of woven forms—works composed of sections of circles that drape like regular wave formations, compositions of long woven strips that, with pulled warps, suddenly curve out from the wall, or planar shapes that are arranged in fanlike formations. The curvilinear, draped forms of Summer and Winter (1977; restored 2014), notes Ezra Shales, resemble “both a ruffle and a row of ancient mourners.” The tapestry is one solid piece and comes with hanging instructions.


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