BALTIMORE – The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) brings together the work of MacArthur Award-winning artist Joyce J. Scott and her mother, artist Elizabeth Talford Scott, for a one-gallery exhibition that explores their profound mutual influence. The two artists lived and worked together in Baltimore for more than 60 years and the younger Scott credits her mother for showing her that she could realize her dreams as an artist.
On view May 15–Dec. 1, the exhibition demonstrates their exceptional creativity with needle and thread through 10 works ranging from an early collaboration in weaving to three stunning quilts, a beaded necklace and tapestry, and sculptures clothed in luminous glass and bead garments.
“The work of Joyce J. Scott and Elizabeth Talford Scott stands as an invitation to viewers to bring their own creative spirit to bear on making a better world,” said Christopher Bedford, BMA director. “I am very pleased to present the work of one of Baltimore’s most acclaimed artists alongside the work of her mother, an outstanding artist in her own right”
From the 1970s onward, Joyce J. Scott (b. 1948) and Elizabeth Talford Scott (1916-2011) each developed an extraordinary body of work grounded in a shared textile tradition. They understood their creative legacy as inherited from generations of craftspeople in their family who had honed their expertise and persisted in their artistry through the extreme deprivations of slavery and its aftermath in sharecropping, migration and segregated city life. Both artists embraced the belief that art-making can offer human beings the opportunity to break free of limiting social categories, evolve new ways of communicating and nurture dreams.
Highlights of the exhibition include three quilts by Elizabeth Talford Scott, including her majestic Plantation (1980), a dazzling work in the BMA’s collection that envisions the big dipper as a matriarchal beacon of freedom. Examples of Joyce J. Scott’s work include an early loom-based beaded necklace and reverse-appliqué mola alongside more recent figurative sculptures and a storybook tapestry made with glass beads.
The mother-daughter textile show, titled “Hitching Their Dreams to Untamed Stars: Joyce J. Scott & Elizabeth Talford Scott,” is curated by Cecilia Wichmann, BMA associate curator of Contemporary Art.