Alan Magee began working on his first tapestry, Zazen, shortly after his 2002 exhibition at Forum Gallery, Los Angeles, when artist friends Donald Farnsworth and John Nava invited him to join them in their newly launched tapestry project. The two were about to install nearly forty grand-scale tapestries in architect José Rafael Moneo's Our Lady of the Angels cathedral in L.A. Nava's commissioned tapestries were based on his paintings and employed a process devised and refined by the two collaborators. The new method permitted an extraordinarily rich and detailed translation of image into woven fabric.
This new generation of tapestries is woven in Belgium on Jacquard looms - machines often cited as the nineteenth century precursors of the modern computer. Over several years of work on the cathedral tapestries, Farnsworth and Nava, using their own patented software and color palettes, stretched the limits of the present day Jacquard, and taught Magee the technique. The results were dazzling - even to the master weavers operating the looms in Belgium.
One of Magee's first tapestries hangs in the Great Room of the Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta, Maine. More recently his tapestries have been displayed at James A. Michener Art Museum, Farnsworth Art Museum, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, Frye Art Museum, the Bank of America's Shorenstein Building in San Francisco, Goethe-Institut New York, and the Luxembourg Embassy in Berlin. They are hanging in private collections throughout the U.S., Japan, England, and Germany.
55 x 24 inches, © 2003, Alan Magee