Madison, Wisconsin


Marianne Fairbanks explores the deep meaning in geometry and abstraction as they relate to textile and graphic design vocabularies. Fairbanks approaches weaving, painting, photography, and sculpture with a playfulness of process that destabilizes conventional value systems of hard and soft form-making while digging into more philosophical understandings of material vs immaterial.

Fairbanks holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BFA from the University of Michigan. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally in venues including The Museum of Art and Design, New York, Copenhagen Contemporary, Copenhagen, Denmark, RAM Gallery, Oslo, Norway, and The Röhsska Museum of Design and Craft, Gothenburg, Sweden. She is based in Madison where she is an Assistant Professor of Design Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Marianne Fairbanks


Artist Statement

For this work, Fairbanks translates drafts for weaving patterns into an oversized painted “curtain.” While browsing the pages of a weaving pattern sourcebook, Fairbanks was captivated by how the patterns changed as she turned the pages. She photographed the patterns in a skewed perspective to capture the distortions, and then brought the images into the computer to make a new pattern of positive and negative shapes. This work is in conversation with the weavers who came before her who documented the drafts found in the sourcebooks, and invents a new pattern language through magnified scale, exaggerated color and a shift of material. This “curtain” of positive and negative shapes also references the binary punch-cards of the early jacquard looms and how the absence or presence of material stored the data of the weaving patterns.

Holding Patterns (Magnolia), 2021, Laser cut high density polyethylene and paint, 75x49 in., Courtesy of the artist