Silk and metallic threads are embellished with pearls, gemstone beads and crystals in the exhibit “Threads of Consciousness: The Tapestries of Jon Eric Riis.” The nearly 60 works (pictured: Ancestor’s Tapestry) displayed include large-scale panels.
Active for nearly six decades, Riis is celebrated for his intricately handwoven, representational textiles that strike a balance between social commentary and virtuoso craftsmanship. Art, history, world cultures, and topical issues serve as inspiration to address provocative subjects—such as race, religion, war, beauty, spirituality, humanity—through the medium of woven silk and metallic thread. Often they are embellished with freshwater pearls, gemstone and gilt glass beads, and crystals. Dating from 2000-2020, the works on view will include large mythological tapestry panels, Riis’s signature coat and robe archetypal forms, and experimental anatomical tapestry strips, making this the largest presentation of the artist’s work in the U.S. and his first solo museum exhibition in the Northeast.