The Fabric Workshop & Museum Presents: Elisabeth Kley: Minutes of Sand

Visual Arts

Philadelphia, PA, February 17, 2021 — The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) is pleased to present Elisabeth Kley: Minutes of Sand, on view from March 5 to August 15, 2021. The exhibition is the artist’s first solo museum show and will feature an entirely new body of work. Invited to print yardage utilizing FWM’s world-renowned screenprinting facilities, Kley is interweaving her ceramic and painting practices with three new yardage designs and a new suite of ceramic sculpture for the exhibition.

Elisabeth Kley’s work sits at the distinctive confluence of pattern, decoration, and contemporary art. Known for her black-and-white patterns featured in ceramics, drawings, paintings, and site-specific installations, the artist draws inspiration from motifs featured in ornamentation, architecture, interior decoration, and a myriad of global art traditions. Merging the ancient and modern, Kley translates these fragments into an interdisciplinary practice conveying ideas of opulence and mystery.

“Elisabeth Kley looks for inspiration from global art and architecture histories,” states FWM Curator Karen Patterson. “Islamic tile work from Central Asia, Spain, and North Africa can be seen in her geometric and floral patterns. Her bold, abstract lines are inspired by Roman frescoes and mosaics, Egyptian hieroglyphics, or Coptic, Indian and Wiener Werkstätte textile designs. And yet she conveys these motifs with a contemporary edge, one that feels both handmade and in motion.”

The new yardage designs developed in collaboration with FWM for Minutes of Sand present a distinct but complementary trio unified by their vibrant colors and graphic patterns. Each was printed on site during Kley’s screenprinting residency, part of an initiative by Patterson to reignite residencies similar to those foundational to FWM in the 1970s. The exhibition will also present a new series of ceramic works developed in the artist’s Brooklyn studio. Standing in contrast to the exuberant colors in the yardage, these new ceramics are painted in Kley’s signature black-and-white style.

FWM’s Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program enables artists to take their work in fresh and often unexpected directions. The program’s collaborative focus inspires the creation of new work, contributing to a permanent collection of some 5,000 artworks and an archive that preserves and illustrates the course of artistic production. Printmaking is integral to FWM’s history and remains a vital part of its mission. In the 1970s, celebrated artists benefited from three-week opportunities to create new yardage that would later inform their burgeoning contemporary art practices. Now, more than forty years later, the short-term screenprinting residency program is being reignited for a new cadre of artists.

About Elisabeth Kley
Elisabeth Kley (b. New York) received her BA from Empire State College and studied at Hunter College. Her ceramics, watercolors, drawings and prints have been featured in an exhibition history spanning over 25  years; recent solo and two-person exhibitions include Garden: Elisabeth Kley and Tabboo!, Gordon  Robichaux, New York, NY (2019); Elisabeth Kley, Window on Broad, Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, University of  the Arts, Philadelphia, PA (2019); Flowers Out of Water, Pierre Marie Giraud, Brussels, Belgium (2017);  Ozymandias, CANADA, New York, NY (2016); translucent threads of dawn (with Conrad Ventur), Regina Rex, New York, NY (2015); and A Sign of Eternal Beauty (with Florence Derive), GAVLAK, Palm Beach, FL (2015).  She is represented by CANADA; the gallery published a monograph on her work with Pre-Echo Press in 2019. Kley lives in Manhattan and works in Brooklyn.

Elisabeth Kley: Minutes of Sand and Hardcover (April 9 – September 26, 2021) were made possible with support from The Lenore Tawney Foundation, Harry Hu, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, Maja Paumgarten and John Parker/The Victoria Foundation Fund, Canada Gallery, and Jessica Silverman Gallery.

About the Fabric Workshop and Museum
Founded in 1977, FWM both makes and presents, encouraging artists to experiment with new materials and new media in a veritable living laboratory. Through its renowned Artist-in-Residence (AIR) Program, FWM collaborates with artists to expand their practices, while documenting the course of artistic production from inspiration to realization. FWM presents large-scale exhibitions, installations, and performative work, utilizing innovative fiber and other media. Today, FWM is the only US institution devoted to creating work in textile and new media in collaboration with some of the most significant artists of our time.

Major support of FWM is provided by the Marion Boulton “Kippy” Stroud Foundation. FWM receives state art funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Additional support is provided by The Philadelphia Cultural Fund, Agnes Gund, and the Board of Directors and Members of The Fabric Workshop and Museum.


A virtual media preview of Elisabeth Kley: Minutes of Sand will be held on Thursday, March 4 from 11:00am – 12:00pm ET. Following an introduction by FWM Executive Director Christina Vassallo, the preview will feature a tour and Q+A with the artist and Karen Patterson, FWM Curator. To request access to the virtual preview, please email Abby Addams at

Contact: Abby Addams