Mary Zicafoose Tapestries and Prints, Omaha, NE

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About Mary Zicafoose

Mary Zicafoose's tapestries and rugs span the globe from the corporate offices of Tenaska in Canada to the United States Embassies on three continents. Her woven pieces blend cultural icons and symbols with a contemporary hand, creating powerful visual statements in fiber. The work and processes are a reflection of the artists' superb craftsmanship and her ability to speak articulately through the use of color.

I am a tapestry and rug weaver. My fascination with pattern and ethnic cloth began as a child, with a scrap of Pacific Island fabric given to me by a favorite aunt. After many formative years of art schooling and teaching, I somewhat surprisingly found myself behind a loom. I have spent the last 22 years in pursuit of visual surprise on the flat woven "rug" surface, through dye processes, tapestry techniques and intriguing color play. Weaving has become my ticket into the Arts, it is a personal vernacular that speaks about the unabashed use of color and the power of illusion.

Ms. Zicafoose has worked, traveled and taught throughout the Americas. A largely self taught weaver, she received her BFA from St. Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana. Her graduate Studies include the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Nebraska. She credits her courage at the dye pot to the influence of painter Mark Rothko and her designs to every textile she has seen and touched.

She currently maintains a one-woman fiber studio in Omaha, Nebraska where she lives with her family.

Artist Statement

Weaving is my medium, but creating decorative textile art is not my goal. Rather, it is my use of “Ikat,” the complex technique of resist dyeing and over-dyeing fibers, that best defines my intent. The term "Ikat" means to "bind" or "tie" in the Malaysian language. I create contemporary tapestry, pushing the boundary of this ancient art form, to investigate the intricacies of how we, as individuals, are tied to one another. The complexity and uncharted potential of warp and weft - combined with the alchemy of color compositions and archetypal symbols - reference the elaborate and intricate patterns of our lives and my work. Each densely woven and intricately layered textile reflects the infinite and repetitive ways that cultures, rituals and collective memories bind us all together. By evolving and transforming timeless motifs and visual language into a contemporary (con)text, I seek to engage my viewers - as well as myself - in dialogues and discussions that reawaken and tie us all to one another.


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