Williams, Arbie. (Carthage, TX, 1916-Oakland, CA, 2003)

Bibliography and Exhibitions


Santa Cruz (CA). University of California-Santa Cruz.
ARBIE WILLIAMS Transforms the Britches Quilt.
10 pp. exhib. cat., 8 color plates, 11 b&w illus. Text by Eli Leon. 4to (10 x 8.5 in.), wraps.


AMHERST (MA). Fine Arts Center, University of Massachusetts.
Something Else to See: Improvisational Bordering Styles in African American Quilts.
February 1-March 15, 1997.
44 pp. exhib. cat., 44 color and b&w illus., bibliog., biogs., exhib. checklist. Features 36 outstanding quilts. Text by Eli Leon. Artists include: Roy Atkins, Irene Bankhead, Marble Battle, Laverne Brackens, Sherry Byrd, Willia Ette Graham, Georgia Lee Kidd, Rosa "Honey" Pierre, Rosie Lee Tompkins, Gussie Wells, Arbie Williams, et al. 4to (10 x 10 in.), black pictorial wraps. First ed.

ATLANTA (GA). High Museum of Art.
No Two Alike: African-American Improvisational Quilts.
September, 1996-February,1997.
27 pp. exhib. cat., color illus. of quilts with their makers. Text by Eli Leon. Quilts by 21 quiltmakers, from the folk art collection of scholar Eli Leon. The exhibition is divided into four groups: Square Within a Square emphasizes improvisational variations on a widely used quilt pattern; High Contrast, the second section, features mostly black and white quilts based in the African American aesthetic "showing up," i.e. standing out through the use of large patterns, bold colors, and strong contrasts; the third section features quilts by Rosie Lee Tompkins; and the fourth section displays the work of four generations of women in one quilting family: Gladys Henry, her daughter, granddaughter Sherry Byrd and great granddaughter Bara Byrd. Other quiltmakers included: Louisa Fite, Kitty Jones, Minnie Lee Metcalf, Fannie Mae Moore, Maple Swift, Rosie Lee Tompkins, Arbie Williams, et al. Excerpt from Leon's introduction (p.6): Practices such as measuring approximately, using scraps as found, incorporating accidents into the finished work and making frequent exceptions to whatever rules may have been established, are all aspects of a vision in which incidental contingencies, accepted as spontaneous offerings, are skillfully managed to contribute to the beauty and individuality of an artist's work. Accordingly, quiltmaker Laverne Brackens--an eloquent spokeswoman for improvisation--talks of "off-centering the centerpiece," displaying odd selvages, turning printed stripes in different directions, stripping lengthwise and widthwise in the same quilt, enlarging blocks that are too small for the current need with long strips of fabric, and working out the pattern as she goes along, all to effect a "different look," "change it up," or "give that quilt a offset look." [Traveled to: South Carolina State Museum, October, 1998-March, 1999; Vermont Folklife Center, September-November, 1999; Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum, January-March 2000; National Afro-American Museum, April-June, 2001; Santa Rosa Junior College, February-March, 2003; Museum of Art, University of Maine, October 21, 2005-January 14, 2006.] Sq. 4to (10 x 10 in.), wraps.

CHICAGO (IL). Mayor's Office, City of Chicago.
The Chicago Public Art Guide.
Chicago: Dept. of Public Affairs,.
92 pp., approx. 150 color illus., intro. text by Gregory G. Knight. Contains index of works by region, branch library installations, special projects, map, index of artists with titles of work. Includes color illus. of the following works: Richard Hunt (Freeform, 1993, stainless steel sculpture, State of Illinois Building); Preston Jackson (Irv Kupcinet Memorial, 2006, bronze cast portrait sculpture, Wabash Ave./approach to Irv Kupcinet Bridge.) Works at the Harold Washington Library Center: Houston Conwill and Estella Conwill Majozo (Du Sable's Journey, 1991, terrazzo and inlaid brass floor design); Jacob Lawrence (Events in the Life of Harold Washington, 1991, ceramic tile mural.) Works in the collection of the Harold Washington Library Center: Faith Ringgold (The Winner, 1988, painted quilt); Muneer Bahauddeen (sculpture); John Bankston (painting); William Dawson (sculptures); Robert Dilworth (painting); Richard Hunt (drawing); Preston Jackson (sculpture); Calvin Jones (painting); Bertrand Phillips (painting); David Philpot (sculptures); Arnaldo Roche-Rabell (painting); Tim Rollins + K.O.S. (painting); Alison Saar (sculpture); Lorna Simpson (photographic print); Fan Warren (drawings). At the Legler Branch Library: Elizabeth Catlett (Floating Family, 1996, carved wood); and Kerry James Marshall (Knowledge and Wonder, 1996, mural painting). At the Austin Senior Satellite Center: Brook Collins (Family Mosaics, 2006, 15 photographs) and Melvin King (Follette Park and Selma March, 2006, paintings). At the Rosemont busline station: Martin Puryear (River Road Ring, 1986, wood sculpture). At the 4th District Police Station: Amir Nour (Untitled, 1980, rolled steel semi-spheres). In Bronzeville/along Dr. Martin Luther King Drive: Alison Saar (Monument to the Great Northern Migration, 1994, bronze figure sculpture); art benches by: Willie Cole, Geraldine McCullough; Ed Dwight (Blues Sculptures - Four Musicians, 2005, bronze sculptures, at 47th St./Dr. Martin Luther King Drive). Chicago Police Dept. Headquarters /Michigan Ave.: 4 quilts by Gladys Henry, Laverne Brackens, Sherry Byrd and Sara Byrd - four generations of African American quiltmakers. At Chicago International Airport: Dawoud Bey (Chicago Couples, 2000, photographic print); Richard Hunt (Flight Forms, 2001, stainless steel.) At the Thurgood Marshall Branch Library: Venus Blue (They All Had Something in Common, 1995, quilt). At the Woodson Branch Library: Bernard Williams (sculpture). At the Rogers Park Branch Library: Al Tyler (paintings). At the Uptown Branch Library: Mr. Imagination (installation). At Mabel Manning Branch Library: Dawoud Bey (photographs) and Willie Carter (painting). At Logan Square Branch Library: Arnaldo Roche-Rabell (paintings). At West Chicago Branch Library: Nick Cave (fabric). At Brainerd Branch Library: Preston Jackson (sculpture). At Douglass Branch Library: Emilio Cruz (banners.). At Woodson Branch Library: Richard Hunt (sculpture), Charles Searles (sculpture), and Bernard Williams (sculpture). At Wrightwood-Ashburn Branch Library: Candida Alvarez (stained glass) and Gerald Griffin (collage). At Avalon Branch Library: Stephen Marc (photographs). At Bessie Coleman Branch Library: Laverne Brackens (quilt) and Arbie Williams (quilt.) At Chicago Bee Branch Library: Carrie Mae Weems (painting/mixed media), Derek Webster (sculpture), and Gregg Spears (painting). At Jeffery Manor Branch Library: Marva Lee Pitchford Jolly (ceramic installation). At Kelly Branch Library: Robert Dilworth (painting) and Jacob Lawrence (lithograph). At Pullman Branch Library: Orisegun Olomidun (painting) and Bernard Williams (mural). At South Chicago: Kerry James Marshall (mural). At South Shore Branch Library: Muneer Bahauddeen (sculpture and mosaic) and Laverne Brackens (quilt). West Pullman Branch Library: Marcus Akinlana (mural and mixed media). [See: explorechicago.org] pdf file: www.explorechicago.org/etc/...art.../ENTIRE_PA_WEB.pdf

LOS ANGELES (CA). California African American Museum.
Traditions in Cloth: Afro American Quilts / West African Textiles.
January 5-March 29, 1986.
22 pp., color illus. Pref. by Lizzetta LeFalle-Collins; intro. by Cuesta Benberry; texts by Maude Wahlman ("Continuities Between African Textiles and Afro-American Quilts.") and Eli Leon. Artists mentioned include: Yellow Bill (a quiltmaker slave), Angelia Tobias, coverlets and quilts by Martha and George Washington's slaves; Elizabeth Keckly, Harriet Powers, Annie Dennis, Emma Russell, Betty Tolbert, Charles Palmer, Gussie Wells, Cara Girard, Arbie Williams, Mary Lue Brown, Cora Lee Hall, Martha Hart Williams. 4to, wraps.

SAN FRANCISCO (CA). Craft & Folk Art Museum.
Who'd a Thought it: Improvisation in African-American Quiltmaking.
December 31, 1987-February 28, 1988.
88 pp. exhib. cat., 94 illus., including 48 mostly full-page color plates, plus 30 reference illus. including photos of the quiltmakers, biogs., notes, bibliog. Texts by Robert Farris Thompson and Eli Leon. A major contribution to the consideration of traditional heritage vs. personal innovation in the African American quiltmaking tradition. Artists include: Irene Bankhead, Cora Lee Hall Brown, Mary Lue Brown, Monin Brown, Sherry Byrd, Charles Cater, Alberta Collins, Odessa Doby, Willia Ette Graham, Emma Hall, Bettie Phillips, Mattie Pickett, Eula Thomas, Angelia Tobias, Rosie Lee Tompkins, Gussie Wells, Arbie Williams, et al. Traveling exhibition. [Review: Ann Barry, NYT, November 16, 1989.] 4to, wraps. First ed.

WINSTON-SALEM (NC). Diggs Gallery, Winston-Salem State University.
Models in the Mind: African Prototypes in American Patchwork.
42 pp. exhib. cat., illus., biogs. with photos of most of the quiltmakers, bibliog. Text by Eli Leon noting numerous parallels between African fabric motifs and familiar American patchwork designs. Quiltmakers mentioned include: Irene Bankhead, Cora Lee Hall Brown, Mary Lue Brown, Sherry Byrd, Charles Cater, Willie Mae Chatman, Laura Jackson Culp, Aurelia Foster, Willia Ette Graham, Ernestine Jordan, Emily Kirby, Carrie Sue Lewis, Rose R. McDowell, Bessie Moore, Dymon Moreland, Bettie Phillips, Mattie Pickett, Lucy Sims, Anny Bell Simon, Flossie Sullivan, Maple Swift, Mary Thompson, Rosie Lee Tompkins, Sarah Turnage (no photo), Johnnie A. Wade, Maudra Walker, Rosalyn Walker (no photo), Gussie Wells, Arbie Williams. [Traveled to: Center for the Arts at Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco, CA, 1994.] 4to, wraps.