Art curated by Brianna Toth at Tartine Bakery in San Francisco.


Opening Reception: Wednesday, November 16th from 8pm - 10pm

November 16th - January 18th

The chemistry of salt water, our own pH, the suction of a wave: the antihierarchy that nature presents is addressed by human perception through our endless, often abstract, narratives. By orchestrating the emotion of painterly color and the rationality within the geometry of quilts, Ashley Thayer creates striking visual abstractions to materialize such narratives. Thayer practices low immersion, vat dyeing, shibori, and various resist techniques used in Africa and India, allowing water to carry and resist marks on fiber. “My work with dyes and quilting has come directly out of my painting process. Everything I am doing with fabrics I did in paper or wood first. Creating color with dye allows me to be much more deliberate and thoughtful because of the physicality of it and the steps involved in the mixing process… . Dyeing is an indirect application of pigment to the surface. It is a precise science but there will always be something uncontrollable about it, something unexpected due to all of the variables.”For these processes Thayer uses reactive MX dyes, acid dyes, indigo, and natural dyes from botanicals foraged around her home in Los Angeles; some of which include tea leaves, rust, seaweed, mangos, beetroot, black eyed susan and eucalyptus bark.

The word aequum is the Latin adjective for impartial, equal, even, calm or fair. Aside from the general attributes of the term, aequum also references how each series of work uses equal increments of measurement. In many of Thayer’s quilts, triangles of equal size are used like building blocks to create the larger patterns that seem to multiply infinitely within the work. For Thayer shape and form are expressed in measurement through the use of math, geometry and drafting in her creative process.

There is no physical ‘pattern’ that I use to trace a quilt off of. I am drawing a graph and deconstructing it. I think about the math of composing music. I am visualizing a song. I love that certain relationships come into play again and again, some measurements seem unlikely but they work. Knowing that hundreds of years ago quilters were adept at this geometry makes the application of numbers seem human, shared, and a comfort.”

Included in Aequum are a number of paintings which serve as studies for the textile pieces that surround them. Thayer draws inspiration from the quilting traditions of Amish, early colonial and Native American quiltmakers, as well as the improvisation in “Afro-traditional” quilts. The creative intentions of the work in Aequum are aligned with the quiltmaker’s piety demonstrated in Amish quilts and the physiological, healing motives behind Emma Kunz’s large-scale pencil drawings.

Ashley Thayer was born in Austin, Texas and studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design where she earned her BFA. She has shown her work internationally. Her photographs have been printed by Foam Magazine and RVCA, her paintings have been used by Keep Company and Consolidated Skateboards, and she has taught indigo dyeing to students in the Bay Area. She most recently studied with dyer/artist Elin Noble at Penland School of Crafts.