How Victoria Van Der Laan Breathes New Life Into the Art of Quilting
Victoria Van der Laan learned quilt-making from her great-grandmother, who did everything by hand. Describing herself as a ‘self-taught textile artist, mother of three, and a bit of a rebel,’ she combines historical techniques with a contemporary eye for color and abstraction in her minimalist textile-based work. Based in Albany, New York, Van der Laan was a 2020 Fellow for the Elizabeth Murray Artist Residency, and has been exhibiting her work in upstate New York and beyond since 2017.
Van der Laan’s use of bold colors and clean arresting forms has a Pop Art sensibility that fuses hints of Scandinavian design with traditional patterns. Her goal is to create exquisite yet functional quilts that can either be exhibited in a gallery or used to take a nap. By ‘liberating’ her designs from the restrictions of geometric repetition, and taking them in a painterly direction, she extends the bounds of contemporary craft while paying homage to centuries of creative masterpieces made by women.
My current work is an abstract interpretation of the traditional art and craft of quilt-making, exploring geometry, nature, and feminism. The painstaking handwork of my forebears never far from my mind as I work, I am committed to elevating the concept of Women's Work and acknowledging its importance in the art world. So often throughout history and still very much today the work of women's hands, hearts, and minds is unseen, overlooked, invisible. This work is often the foundation of men's accomplishments yet women doing the same or better work remain unrecognized.
In spring of 2021, Van der Laan was featured in Home Textiles Today for her collaboration with the Annie Selke Company, which is incorporating her designs into a line of home decor. She followed that up with a blitz of exhibitions and back-to back residencies at Salem Artworks in upstate New York, and at Foundation House in Greenwich, Connecticut. As her career progresses, it seems apparent that the lessons she received from her great-grandmother in the art of quilt making, and the patience and perseverance required, are being put to excellent use.
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From Cult To Comedy, A Memoir, by Katie Love
The year is 1970. The horror soap opera “Dark Shadows” is all the rage, the Vietnam War is raging and nine-year-old Katie, an imaginative and independent latch-key kid, comes home from school to discover her mother’s suicide.
Taken in by her older sister who has recently become a Jehovah’s Witness, Katie is shown an illustration from a bible picture book featuring wild animals peacefully lounging by a pool of water, surrounded by happy people picking fruit. An enticing offer is made: “Katie, this is Paradise. Do you want to see Mom again, happy and living forever? All you have to do is follow all of Jehovah’s commandments and you can be with Mom again.”
Mom happy and living forever? Two tickets to Paradise, please!
So begins Katie’s zealous quest to attain perfection and entrance into a utopian world which promises peace, love, and happiness. She discovers a much darker world. “Two Tickets to Paradise, from Cult to Comedy” tells the hilarious and heartbreaking story of an earnest, bible-toting kid intent on saving the world, and follows her metamorphosis into a boisterous comedian intent on saving herself through the healing powers of humor.
Table of Contents
- Victoria Van Der Laan — Artist Statement
- Grant Submission Work
- Victoria Van Der Laan – Artist Bio
- Victoria on the Web And Social Media
Victoria Van Der Laan — Artist Statement
Tracing my ancestry through a long line of women who made beautiful and useful things with needle and thread, my work is rooted in tradition while reaching toward innovation. My current work is an abstract interpretation of the traditional art and craft of quilt-making, exploring geometry, nature, and feminism. The painstaking handwork of my forebears never far from my mind as I work, I am committed to elevating the concept of Women's Work and acknowledging its importance in the art world.
So often throughout history and still very much today the work of women's hands, hearts, and minds is unseen, overlooked, invisible. This work is often the foundation of men's accomplishments yet women doing the same or better work remain unrecognized. With my work I illuminate this foundation, seeking to reveal the inextricable connection between the traditions of Women's Work and contemporary art and innovation.
Victoria Van Der Laan – Grant Submission Work
Victoria Van Der Laan – Artist Bio
Victoria van der Laan is a visual artist working in Albany, NY. Victoria's work is rooted in a tradition in textiles and informed by a love of color and abstraction. Never having attended art school, she developed her skill and artistic sensibility over a lifetime working with fabric and fibers. She came to approach her work as art in midlife, devoting herself to a fulltime practice in 2017. In 2019 Victoria had her first twoperson exhibit at the Roxbury Arts Group, participated in the Catskill Center's Platte Clove Residency in 2018 and 2019, and was chosen as the 2020 Murray Fellow for the Elizabeth Murray Artist Residency. Her work has been included in the 2019 and 2020 Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region Exhibitions, 2020 Quilts=Art=Quilts at the Schweinfurth Art Center, and the 2020 Mohawk Hudson Regional Invitational at Albany Center Gallery.
Victoria van der Laan on the Web And Social Media
Here’s where to find out more about Victoria on the web and social media:
About the Artist of the Day Series
All artworks have been published with permission of the artist. Our "Artist of the Day" series is a regular feature highlighting artworks from the 100's of grant applications we receive. The "Not Real Art Grant" is an annual award designed to empower the careers of contemporary artists, and this is one way we honor all entries we receive. Find out more about the grant program here.