Mountains & Ghosts: New Ikat Tapestries & Prints - Mary Zicafoose

Mountains & Ghosts: New Ikat Tapestries & Prints - Mary Zicafoose

Monday, December 2, 2013 to Friday, January 17, 2014

The Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery director, Wendy Weiss, is pleased to announce that the public will have an opportunity to view the work of Nebraska artist Mary Zicafoose. A longtime resident of Omaha, her large-scale ikat tapestry diptychs, small format tapestry vignettes, and framed collagraphic monoprints on paper, explore the archetypal symbol of the trinity. The exhibition opens to the public December 2, 2013 and runs until January 17, 2014. The artist will give a public lecture titled “Designing a Life: Weaving and Art” in room 11 of the Home Economics Building, Wednesday, January 15 at 6:00 p.m. A reception with the artist will follow immediately on the second floor of the same building outside the gallery. The Friends of the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery will host the reception.

Talking about her work, Mary explains that she uses the symbolic power of the trinity, expressed in the form of pyramid, triangle and temple, as the recognizable visual metaphor for this body of new work, which invokes landscape, geometry and sacred space. She goes on to say that “since childhood I have been a student of the horizon, always searching for the line where earth meets sky, finding great excitement in re-ordering the classic and familiar dividing line of power in both my tapestries and works on paper.”

Zicafoose uses a bound resist technique called weft ikat to dye her threads before she inserts them into her weaving to create her triangular forms. The process the artist uses to dye her yarns permeates them with ancient patterns and coded shapes that appear as ethereal shapes as she weaves. She invokes the mystery of a pyramid and dreams of mountains, leading the viewer to enter these spaces with her because of their unexpected scale and inviting color and pattern. This triad of the mountain/triangle/pyramid form has been fertile ground for the artist to produce a combined output of work on paper and the loom. This work is brought together in the exhibition at the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery.

Zicafosse will work with students in the department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design the last week of the exhibition and enliven their first experience weaving with a master class workshop in the weaving studio of the department.

The Hillestad Gallery is part of the Department of Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design in the UNL College of Education and Human Sciences. The gallery is on the second floor of the Home Economics Building on East Campus, on 35th Street north of East Campus Loop (map at Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday-Friday and by appointment. The gallery will be closed between December 23, 2013 and January 1, 2014 for the annual holiday shutdown. Admission is free. Guest parking is available near the building and metered stalls are located in the Nebraska East Union lot. For more information, call (402) 472-2911 or visit




Mary Zicafoose. Mountain for Buddha - Envy, Weft faced ikat tapestry, diptych, 63"H x 58" W, wrapped, dyed & woven wool on linen warp, 2013. Photo credit: Kirby Zicafoose.

Mary Zicafoose. Mountain for Buddha - Sky, Weft faced ikat tapestry, diptych,  65"H x 62"W, wrapped, dyed & woven silk/bamboo on linen warp, 2013. Photo credit: Kirby Zicafoose.