Bryan Ventura, Contributing Photographer

Last week, City Gallery — an artist-run gallery on State Street — launched its February exhibit, “Life after Life: A Textile Celebration of Beauty and Resilience.”

The exhibition features 20 assorted pieces from City Gallery member Rita Daley Hannafin and Gwen Hendrix which explore themes of evolution and renewal through textile art. Through a diverse array of mediums — including embroidery, painting and quilting — these artists bring to life a range of emotions in their pieces which intend to highlight the small beauties in life. 

“Life after Life reflects on the cyclical and regenerative nature of life,” reads the exhibit’s introduction. “This colorful collaboration celebrates the beauty and resilience of the natural world, as well as exploring the aspects of personal loss and renewal.”

Hannafin, who has been a traditional quilter since the 1980s, combines textiles, paint, collage and digital imagery in her art. She discovered an interest in art quilting during her time as Exhibition Travel Coordinator for Studio Art Quill Associates based in Hebron, Connecticut. According to Hannafin, her work is inspired by climate change, politics, personal stories and abstraction. 

“My selections for the Life After Life exhibit explore the complexity and wonder of all living organisms,” said Hannafin.

Hannafin’s pieces at the exhibit showcase her unique perspective on the themes of life and death. Part of her display includes her “HeartBeats” series of five quilts which are accompanied by poetic verses that detail the specific story of each quilt.

Joyce Greenfield, City Gallery Member and overseer of the exhibit, said she was amazed by Hannafin’s textile work and bold coloring choices. 

“This is not your grandmother’s quilting,” Greenfeld said.

Hendrix was a machinist for 33 years before leaving to pursue her passion in abstract art. Formerly a helicopter builder for Sikorsky Aircrafts, she now incorporates those operative skills to explore 3D forms and create kinetic sculptures.  

“As an abstract painter using textile pigmentsI love to capture the translucent imagery of shapes, form and movement in vivid color on fabric and microfiber material,” Hendrix explained. 

An inventive artist, one of Hendrix’s pieces was made using acrylic medium, wire and cotton thread along with tea bags and beeswax. Hendrix told the News that her  work is inspired by the earth and climate as well as the decimation caused by climate change. She said she is also inspired by macro photography. 

“The inspiration of my works for Life after Life is macro photography — bringing the camera to the ground and discovering new emerging worlds during different times throughout the seasons,” Hendrix said. “Observing their growth, life cycle, death and rebirth is a continuation of ephemeral form and vibration.”

Considering their different backgrounds, Greenfield was impressed how well Hannafin and Hendrix’s art worked in conjunction. 

“They made it work and well,” she said. “When you have two different artists, it’s a challenge but it’s always interesting.”

The exhibit will run at the City Gallery until Feb. 26, with the artists also being in the gallery on Saturday, Feb. 18 and Sunday, Feb. 26.