Tapestry exhibition with works by
James Koehler, Rebecca Mezoff and Cornelia Theimer Gardella
in celebration of the Bauhaus Year 2009
The year 2009 marks the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus School by Walter Gropius in Weimar, Germany. The
Bauhaus existed as an art and design school from 1919 to 1933, giving voice to new concepts of artistic creation and design
and bringing together some of the most influential modernist artists of the 20th century. The German state of Thuringia, where
the original school was founded, has declared this anniversary an official cultural highlight of 2009 and is planning a variety
of cultural events, conferences and exhibitions.
The upcoming Bauhaus Year celebrations in Germany were the incentive for James Koehler, Rebecca Mezoff and Cornelia Theimer
Gardella to collaborate on the preparation and execution of an exhibition of handwoven tapestries to be shown in Thuringia's
state capital Erfurt in the summer of 2009 and, upon their return, in New Mexico in the fall of 2009.
Currently, the artists are preparing an application with the city of Erfurt to hold this exhibition in one of Erfurt's
major city-owned galleries, the Kulturhof Krönbacken (www.kroenbacken.de).
The topic Bauhaus is nothing new to these three artists. Rebecca Mezoff and Cornelia Theimer Gardella have become familiar
with Bauhaus teachings, design and color theory mainly while studying tapestry weaving under James Koehler for the past three
years during various workshops and private studio classes. James Koehler considers Bauhaus artists, such as Paul Klee, Johannes
Itten and Anni Albers, a strong influence on his work, on his approach to design and the creative process while incorporating
Bauhaus pedagogical concepts in his own teachings.
In preparation for this tapestry exhibition, James Koehler has agreed to mentor Rebecca Mezoff and Cornelia Theimer Gardella
throughout 2008. The artists are focusing their studies on selected writings by Bauhaus artists, exploring Bauhaus design
theories, the creative process, approaches to form and color, and the contribution of Bauhaus aesthetics to contemporary tapestry
weaving. Another important aspect of their studies is the relationship many Bauhaus artists had with the United States of
America, bringing their ideas to this country after the Bauhaus was forced to close by the Nazi Regime in 1933, continuing
their work at places such as Black Mountain College.
While the Bauhaus encompassed a vast array of art, craft and architecture and brought together a wealth of often contrasting
ideas, this exhibition will be a very personal tribute to artists and design concepts of the Bauhaus era, and a reflection
of the validity of their ideas in a contemporary setting. It will also pay respect to the art form of tapestry weaving, and
the specific requirements of this medium. In addition, the exhibition will be a reflection of the teacher/student relationship
between James Koehler and Rebecca Mezoff and Cornelia Theimer Gardella.
While the incentive for this project is the 90th Bauhaus anniversary, the artists' creativity is fed by a wealth of personal
experiences and individual artistic ideals. One major common influence, however, on all three artists cannot be underestimated:
the wealth of artistic and textile traditions found in New Mexico as well as its vast and open landscapes which serve as continual
inspiration. James Koehler, Rebecca Mezoff and Cornelia Theimer Gardella agree that the support systems for artists, especially
in the field of fiber arts, which can be found here, make New Mexico a unique place to live and work, and the artists are
striving to convey this special atmosphere to the German audience, not only through their tapestries, but accompanying literature
For Cornelia Theimer Gardella, this project is of a very personal nature. The German-born artist came to New Mexico in
2005 to study traditional fiber arts at Northern New Mexico College and later on contemporary tapestry with James Koehler.
This project is now taking her back to her hometown of Erfurt where it will give her the opportunity to show her work in Germany
for the first time, in the surroundings which 90 years ago saw the beginnings of the Bauhaus.
The exhibitions in Germany and New Mexico will be accompanied by lectures and workshops given by the artists. Such lectures
and workshops will include color and design theory, artistic processes and creativity, and applied Bauhaus aesthetics.