The fundamental geometries of Gee's Bend quilts shine in works made with single repeating patches: triangles, squares, diamonds, and hexagons.
These forms, like the work-clothes quilt genre, offer metaphors for existence in the Bend, where art discovered ways to sprout from the ordinariness of daily life.
It begins with a medallion of solid cloth, or one of an endless number of pieced motifs, to anchor the quilt.
The quiltmakers of Gee's Bend and Rehoboth tell similar stories when describing their separate styles; taken together, the women's insistence on developing a unique artistic voice becomes a statement about their community's tradition.
The "Housetop," from the composite block down to its constituent pieces, echoes the right angles of the quilt's borders, initiating visual exchanges between the work's edges and what is inside.
Traditional African American "call and response," a ritual technique of music and religious worship, is intrinsic to the targetlike push and pull among elements.
The women of Gee’s Bend—a small, remote, black community in Alabama—have created hundreds of quilt masterpieces dating from the early twentieth century to the present.
Resembling an inland island, Gee’s Bend is surrounded on three sides by the Alabama River.
Given to friends and family or bundled for sale within the community, the scraps were then transformed from standardized remnants into vibrant and individualized works of art.