VIVA AMERICANA

 Artist Stephen Wilson in his studio after the April 11 unveiling of his brilliant  Americana  installation.

Artist Stephen Wilson in his studio after the April 11 unveiling of his brilliant Americana installation.

On April 11 in his studio off Monroe Road, fabric artist Stephen Wilson unveiled his brilliant new work of art titled Americana. More than 20 feet long and 8 feet wide, it's made of 40 larger works of art rich in both details (35 million stitches were used to put it together) and history (among the American icons and the legends of the West it pays homage to are Annie Oakley, Abraham Lincoln and John Wayne).

It's made up of a mesmerizing variety of smaller components, each handmade in his Charlotte studio with fabric from American designer Ralph Lauren and infused with 3D printed artworks. 

This tribute to America's West was inspired by Opera Carolina's upcoming production of Puccin's Girl of the West. Words and pictures cannot adequately describe the thrill of seeing Americana in person. It's as complicated, compelling, beautiful and as full of surprises as the era in American history it depicts.

Luckily there are two chances for the public to view It: 

It can be seen in all it's glory in the lobby of Belk theater during the opera's performances April 22, 27 and 29. For ticket details, click here

It will also be on view April 19-29 at the Foundery on Cedar Street during a pop up exhibit sponsored by New Gallery of Modern of Art. For details, click here. 

An accompanying Americana book documents the fascinating story behind the installation and includes an interesting essay from the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art's Jennifer Sudul Edwards. The book costs $50 and is available through New Gallery of Modern Art. 

 The cover of the book about the  Americana  installation features the artist's modern take on the famous Rosie the Riveter image .

The cover of the book about the Americana installation features the artist's modern take on the famous Rosie the Riveter image.

Colorful limited edition embroidered and framed archival prints of Rise Up, Stephen's modern take on the famous Rosie the Riveter poster that's part of the installation, are also available through the gallery for $2,000.