About this artwork
A rugged and abstract landscape comprised of sharp and jagged forms, The Moon Escaping, designed and woven by Jolanta Owidzka, features a lush and varied surface texture. Owidzka created the uneven plush relief through her use of robust and uncommon yarns that include wool roving, copper wire, and silver tinsel. Her adventurous approach to materialism speaks to the historical moment in which Owidzka made the weaving. Working in Warsaw in the wake of World War II and the destruction wrought on the long-standing workshop system, Owidzka and her colleagues, such as Magdalena Abakanowicz, came to represent the “new Polish school of textile art.”
Owidzka attended the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, where she studied with two key professors, Eleonora Plutynska and Mieczyslaw Szymanski, who trained a number of weavers associated with the “new Polish school.” After graduating in 1952, she worked for five years at the Industrial Design Institute in Warsaw, and devoted her time there to exploring the role of textiles in contemporary interiors. These studies prepared her to take on the challenge of making textiles in a political environment hostile to modern art. Owidzka and her textile compatriots recognized that the materiality of their art practice, which the Soviet government misunderstood as solely linked to folkloric and decorative traditions, provided them with a freedom not granted to artists working in other media.
Although she succeeded in producing an abstract and modern form of Polish tapestry, Owidzka still faced the difficulty of sharing her work with an international audience. Fortunately, among her supporters were the husband and wife gallerist team of Jacques and Anne Baruch. The Baruchs had opened the Jacques Baruch Gallery in Chicago in 1967, and sought to showcase the work of modern artists working with fiber. Owidzka’s abstract landscapes drew their attention, and The Moon Escaping was featured in the exhibition New Concepts in Tapestries held at the Jacques Baruch Gallery in 1973-4. Prior to that, examples of Owidzka’s weavings were included in the ground-breaking 1969 exhibition Wall Hangings at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Currently Off View
- Jolanta Owidzka
- The Moon Escaping
- Made 1973
- Wool, linen, sisal, cotton, lurex and copper wire
- 167.6 × 233.7 cm (66 × 92 in.)
- Gift of Gertrude and Lawrence Kasakoff