Ancestors/ Descendants

Monday, February 5, 2018 to Friday, March 23, 2018

Artist Jason Pollen will speak about his work in the Hillestad Gallery at 5:00 p.m. on First Friday, February 2, 2018.  Please join us for this special event.

The fourth exhibition of the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery’s 2017-2018 programming year opens this Friday, February 2 at its east campus location. The exhibition continues through March 23. Kansas City-based artist Jason Pollen will speak about his exhibition at 5:15 p.m. in the gallery, located on the secondfloor of the Human Sciences Building on East Campus Loop.

Ancestors/Descendants is fiber artist Jason Pollen’s most recent body of work. It has reconnected him with the exuberant world of children at play. With fervor, determination and undiminished curiosity, he gives shape to form using pigments, brushes, threads and twigs that he fashions into compelling dimensional constructions. Pollen hopes that these assemblages convey more than the sums of their parts. The colors, textures and shifting shadows guide the viewer on a deeply fulfilling, enchanting journey through the labyrinthine world of the artist’s imagination. Pollen intends his work to be thought provoking and to communicate his fascination with and delight in “child’s play”.

For twenty years Jason Pollen served on the faculty of the Kansas City Art Institute, where from 1997 – 2010 he was Chair of its Fiber Department. As President of the Surface Design Association from 1993 – 2009, Pollen helped to grow both a national and international constituency of makers and an audience of enthusiasts for contemporary fiber and textile art.

With undergraduate and graduate degrees from the City College of New York, Pollen entered the textile and fashion professions in the 1960s. His subsequent career in industry found him designing for such noted brands as Jack Lenor Larsen, Liberty of London, Donna Karan, Oscar de la Renta, Yves St. Laurent, Lanvin, Hallmark Cards, Inc., and Nieman-Marcus. His creative work is included in numerous public and private collections including the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian’s National Art Museum, and the Jack Lenor Larsen Collection.

Pollen’s work has been widely exhibited both nationally and internationally, at such venues as the Central Museum of Textiles in Lodz, Poland; the Arte & Arte Exposition in Como, Italy; the Craft Alliance in St. Louis, MO; and the Belger Art Center and the Leedy Gallery, both in Kansas City. In 2006 he was named a Fellow of the American Craft Council, and he was awarded the Penland School of Crafts’ “Outstanding Artist/Educator Award” in 2012.

“Creating the work included in Ancestors/Descendants has been an emotional as well as intellectual experience for me,” says Pollen. “I’ve revisited some of the solitary activities of my childhood, like building and rebuilding elaborate sand castles, and I’ve continued to explore marks and mark-making using a range of materials from which I can fabricate cryptic ciphers and symbols. They amount to a kind of visual language that’s both personal and universal.”

The Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery hosts a diverse array of exhibitions throughout the year, including shows of graduate and undergraduate student work and exhibitions drawn from the department’s historic costume and historic textiles collections, numbering over 5000 objects. The gallery is located on UNL’s east campus, at 1650 N. 35th Street, part of the East Campus Loop (map at Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday-Friday and by appointment. Admission is always free. Visitors may park in available visitor slots near the Human Sciences Building or in metered stalls located in the Nebraska East Union parking lot. For additional information, go to the gallery’s website at

Spiral Descendent. 2017; archival museum board, silk, dye, thread, pigment; approximately 7 ft high.

"Portal 1"
"Portal 1", 2017; 30" x 22"; cotton canvas, dye pigment, thread.
"Portal Drip"
"Portal Drip"
"Ancestors 1"
"Ancestors 1" (detail view)