Reinhart stuns with bright colors and unexpected patterns

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Catherine Reinhart: polYESter

Public Space One — through May 4

Catherine Reinhart, polYESter, detail. — Rachel Wachter/Little Village

It all started with a re-gifted queen-sized quilt.

Catherine Reinhart’s polYESter exhibition is a three-year project she created during her daughter’s naptime. The total collection consists of 50 separate pieces, 23 of which are currently on display in the gallery at Public Space One in Iowa City, through May 4. The Iowa State University graduate has a BFA in integrated studio art with a focus on printmaking and fiber.

Catherine Reinhart, polYESter, detail. — Rachel Wachter/Little Village

When I met with Reinhart, we discussed her creative process. It started with her taking apart the quilt and separating the quilt blocks into color-complementary arrangements. She speculates that the quilt blocks are living what she calls their “third life,” imagining that they were originally made to be polyester leisure suits before then being made into the quilt she was gifted and, finally, becoming a part of her work.

After arranging the blocks, Reinhart took repurposed thread, mostly hand-me-down from her mother-in-law, and created a mirror image of each quilt block. She calls these mirror images her “string paintings” and explains that the weight of the thread creates a line weight, such as you would find in a drawing or painting.

Catherine Reinhart, polYESter. — Rachel Wachter/Little Village

Her pieces are bright and arranged in such a way that you can almost imagine a fully sewn quilt. The string paintings that she created to accompany the arranged quilt blocks are bright and display a delightful array of colorful, organized chaos.

She takes on the patterns of the quilt and interprets them by adding color and shape with various thickness of string. Your imagination will fill in the gaps left between the quilted portions and the string paintings, which are brilliantly guided by Reinhart’s color schemes and well-considered linework.

Catherine Reinhart, polYESter, detail. — Rachel Wachter/Little Village

If you care to see this bright display, her work will be in the Public Space One gallery until Saturday, May 4. When viewing the separate pieces, make sure you spend plenty of time comparing the blocks to the string paintings. You are sure to be stunned by the new patterns that seem to emerge out of nowhere each time you take a fresh look.

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