Finding Voice, Power, Joy

  • Quilted Together
    • Benjamin Wills (II)

    dimensions variable, 2021.

    Artist Statement

    In Quilted Together, I explore the narrative structure of quilts. In the same way that the patchwork of quilts have historically functioned to tell stories, the paper material I receive through this correspondence (letters, drawings, magazine clippings, book pages, etc..) is cut into patterns, and using a sewing machine, threaded together to create 110” x 96” quilts. As in my project Airplanes, after a viewer’s close up and far away investigation, each quilt becomes a physical impression of its contributors. Quilted together is voices giving firsthand accounts of America’s problematic penal system.

    Working with the clients of the Innocence Project, these quilts will draw attention to the thousands of humans who are wrongfully incarcerated. The inmates who participate are credited as contributors and will receive photographs of the final products, along with images of the quilts when exhibited.

    Quilt Participants

    Andra L. Bates, Jack Beadle, Tyler Block – Patton, Luther Bradley, Richard Bobbitt, Arthur P. Bowles, Kevin Bromwell, Brian Brown, Levert Brown, Russell Bryant, Vasun Buford, Larry Burks, Kenneth Bush, Brent Carter, James Clemons, Damon Collier, Michael Clay, David Davis, Mr. Maurice Dean, Richard Decaro, Frank Deiterman, Kevin Dixon, Nicholas Dupree, Wallace Gardner Jr., Kendrick Gillum Sr., Webber Gilmer, Lorenzo J. Gilyard, John Gipson, William Hanes, Howard Harmon, Steven Haywood, Mr. Christopher Hunt, William Irving, Michael J Jackson, Antwann Johnson, Mr. Bobby Johnson, Elvis L. Johnson, Willie B. Jones, Lathon Jordana Sr., Taqwa K. Khalifah, Mr. John R. King Sr., William Laramore, Melvin Lockhart III, Norma Lopez, Joseph Mabery, Cornell Manley Jr., Larry F. Martin, Mr. Brandon C. McGuire, Kwasi McKinney, Terese Meadows, Richard Mercer, Shohn Metalf, Inman Mohammad, Sheik Mark S. Moore El, George Myers, Roger Nichols, Leonard Noble, William C. O’Tool, Jerry Ousley, Joanne Palmer, Eddie Parker, Melvin R. Patton, John Chris Peeler, Eddie Poindexter, Artavia Polk, Gerry D Reece, T. Remmert, Janetta Roberts, Cornelius Rodgers, Deverick Scott, Terry Sellers Sr., John W. Selvy, Martez Shadwick, Johnny Smith, Tyrone Smith, CJ Stewart, Daniel Keith Stewart, Nick Tarkington, Clarence Taylor, William Taylor, Marshall A Tillman, Kenny Travis, Demont Waites, Alonzo Watson, George Wells, Carol Wilkins, K. R. Wilson, Clint Woods, DeMarrio Wright, Jeremy Zapata.

    Artist Bio

    Rooted in nostalgia, environment, and social justice, my projects generate a contemporary portrait of American institutions. I examine how art operates as a narrative device within these systems while considering how electronic and digital systems engage with the physicality and materiality of art and community. Looking at what strategies artists are employing to create digital lives for their projects: through website construction, digital cataloging, creative coding, and social media functionality, I am interested in the intersections between poetics, labor, and education. More at www.benjamintoddwills.com and @benjamintoddwills.