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BIOGRAPHY

Yvonne Wells was born in 1939 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She is known for her intricate narrative “story quilts” rendered in a personal style that uniquely melds geometric abstraction with bold figuration. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Carnegie Visual Arts Center, Decatur, AL; the International Quilt Museum, Lincoln, NE; and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, AL. Her work has been featured in group exhibitions at Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL; Carnegie Visual Arts Center, Decatur, AL; Gadsden Museum of Art, Gadsden, AL; International Quilt Museum, Lincoln, NE; Louisville Visual Art Association, Louisville, KY; Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, AL; and the Wiregrass Museum of Art, Dothan, AL. Wells has also exhibited her art internationally in Vence, France, Pietrasanta, Italy, and Tokyo, Japan. Her work is included in the permanent collections of Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts, Little Rock, AR; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL; Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, MI; Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, MI; International Quilt Museum, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE; Kentuck Art Center, Northport, AL; Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, Montgomery, AL; Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington D.C.; The Bunker, West Palm Beach, FL, Wiregrass Museum of Art, Dothan, AL; and Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN. Wells is the recipient of the 2019 Governor’s Arts Award from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the 1998 Alabama Arts and Visual Craftsmen Award. In 2024, a forthcoming monograph on Yvonne Wells will be published by University of Alabama Press.

EDUCATION

1964
BA, Stillman College, Tuscaloosa, AL

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2023-2024
Spotlight Series, American South Consortium Exhibition: Yvonne Wells, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, AL; Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC; Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL; Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT

2023                
Yvonne Wells: Play The Hand That’s Dealt You, Fort Gansevoort, New York, NY

2022
Yvonne Wells, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, AL

2021
Yvonne Wells: The Stories We Tell, In collaboration with Jessica Lynne, Fort Gansevoort (online exhibition)

2013
Piecing Together History: Civil Rights Quilts by Yvonne Wells, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, AL

2012
Telling Stories: Quilted Art by Yvonne Wells, Carnegie Visual Arts Center, Decatur, AL

2011-2012
Yvonne Wells: Quilted Messages, International Quilt Museum, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2024

WRONGED, marguo, Paris, FR.

2023
Strike Fast, Dance Lightly: Artists on Boxing, FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY
Feeling of light, Almine Rech, Brussels, Belgium

2021
Charlie Lucas and Yvonne Wells: What I Knew How to Do,  EBSCO Fine Art Gallery, The Shelby County Arts Council, Columbiana, AL and Wiregrass Museum of Art, Dothan, AL 
Good Trouble: Civil Rights Past & Present, Kentuck Art Center, Northport, AL

2020
Pieces and Patterns: Quilts of West Alabama, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, AL

2018
The Original Makers: Folk Art from the Cargo Collection, Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL

2017-18
From Heart To Hand: African-American Quilts from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Albany Museum of Art, Albany, GA

2015-16
African-American Quilts from the Cargo Collection, International Quilt Museum, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE

2014
Creator/Created, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, AL
From Heart to Hand: African-American Quilts from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, DePaul Art Museum, Chicago, IL; Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ

2011
Black History Month at GMA, Gadsden Museum of Art, Gadsden, AL

2008
Stitching History: The Story Quilts of Yvonne Wells, Cloisters of Saint Augustine, Pietrasanta, Italy
Quilts and Human Rights, Michigan State University Museum, MI

2000
Alabama Art 2000, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, AL and N.A.L.L. Art Association, Vence, France and Museum of Tourettes sur Loup, Tourettes sur Loup France.

1992
Narrations: The Quilts of Yvonne Wells and Carolyn Mazloomi, Louisville Visual Art Association, Louisville, KY

1991
Quilts: The Patterns of History, Castle Gallery at New Rochelle College, New Rochelle, NY

1989
Stitching Memories: African American Story Quilts, Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA

1987
The Art of Black America, Terada Gallery, Tokyo, Japan.  

AWARDS & GRANTS

Creative Director of Tuscaloosa 200 Bicentennial project & memory quilt, 2019
Governor's Arts Award, 2019
Alabama Arts and Visual Craftsmen Award, 1998
Created an ornament for the White House Christmas Tree, 1993
Kentuck Art Festival Best in Show, 1985, 1990, 1991, 1995, 1997, 2004

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts, Little Rock, AR
Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL
Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, MI
Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, MI
International Quilt Museum, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE
Kentuck Art Center, Northport, AL
Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL
Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, Montgomery, AL
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington D.C.
The Bunker, West Palm Beach, FL 
Wiregrass Museum of Art, Dothan, AL
Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN 

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

2023
Ziegler, Jim. "Mobile Museum of Art exhibit, talks to memorialize Negro Baseball League", 1819 News, November 29.
Columbia Museum of Art, “Columbia Museum of Art participates in the Art Bridges Cohort Program”, Columbia Star, July 27.
Jose Villarreal. "Columbia Museum of Art participates in the Art Bridges Cohort Program", July.
Joo, Ye-rin. “We are all friends! Catch the happiness”, Arts in Culture, July 2023.
Stern, Melissa. “Yvonne Wells at Fort Gansevoort Gallery”, Amsterdam News, June 29.
Jacobs, Poppy. “Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts recognizes Alabama quiltmaker in spotlight series”, Alabama Public Radio, April 6.

2022
Marshall, Brittany. “Tuscaloosa NAACP to host its first-ever Juneteenth weened celebration”, Tuscaloosa Thread, June 13.

2019
Knight, Elliot A., ed. Alabama Creates: 200 Years of Art and Artists, Tuscaloosa, AL: The University of Alabama Press.
Morgan, Stacy. “Yvonne Wells: Stitching Stories”, Alabama Arts, vol. XXVIII, no. 1.
Cobb, Mark Hughes. “Tuscaloosa quilter Yvonne Wells earns Governor’s Arts Award”, Tuscaloosa News, June 24.
Frazier, Terri Cowart. “Yvonne Wells’ works with fabric are truly pieces of art”, The Vicksburg Post, February 10.

2017
Hendricks, Jim. “From Heart To Hand: Albany Museum of Art Features Quilts by African-American Women”, Albany Herald, December 12.

2014
Schwendener, Martha. “The Practical Art of Quilting”, The New York Times, November 15.

2013
Crown, Carol and Cheryl Rivers. Folk Art, The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, v. 23.

2011
Morgan, Stacy. “’Anything I Can Stick a Needle In’: An Interview with Yvonne Wells”, Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, no. 31.
“GMA Celebrates Black History Month”, The Gadsden Times, January 22. 

2003
Lacey, Tiffany. “The Quilter: Yvonne Wells”, Tuscaloosa News, December 02.

2000 
Brown, Elizabeth Via. “International Exposure for Alabama’s Visual Artists”, Alabama Arts, vol. XVI, no. 1.

Hollis, Nall, ed. Alabama Arts 2000, Montgomery, AL: Black Belt Press.

1994
Kemp, Kathy. Revelations: Alabama’s Visionary Folk Artists, Crane Hill Publishers.

1989
Grudin, Eva Ungar. Stitching Memories: African-American Story Quilts, Williamstown, MA: Williams College Museum of Art.

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