New Art on Campus
Tapestry by Evelyn Anselevicius
A large tapestry by one of the United States’ most prominent textile artists is now part of the permanent art collection at Oakton Community College. The 40-foot creation by Evelyn Anselevicius (1925-2003) was commissioned in the 1970s by Harris Bank, and for decades was displayed at their downtown Chicago location. Currently hanging in the lobby adjacent to Parking Lot D on Oakton’s Des Plaines campus, the tapestry was donated to the College in June 2009 by NOP HB Building LLC, which purchased the Harris building.
Anselevicius left her native Oklahoma to study at the celebrated Black Mountain College in North Carolina under the renowned artist Joseph Albers, a former teacher of the Bauhaus in Dessau, Germany. She later continued at the Institute of Design in Chicago. During the 1950s she worked for the design company Cohama & Knoll. In the 1960s she started to produce her own designs and in 1969 exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. "Since she has been weaving ‘for herself’ she has become one of the most unswervingly forthright of the American weavers," according to Beyond Craft: The Art Fabric, by Mildred Constantine and Jack Lenor Larsen (Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1973). "Her works combine concept, impact, and scale with a convincing execution. A decisive innovator, she disciplines each work to a single idea and subordinates all else to it."
Anselevicius spent time in Mexico to study and practice local traditions of weaving; she especially enjoyed working on the 10-foot looms at San Miguel de Allende, an artists colony in Guanajuato, Mexico. She preferred to use wool that was spun and dyed in Mexico. She lived for 20 years in Albuquerque, New Mexico, until her death in 2003.
This tapestry synthesizes two major influences on Anselevicius’ artistic career. The abstraction was inspired by her Bauhaus teacher, Joseph Albers, and the earth tones and texture were inspired by her experiences in Mexico and the southwestern United States.