Grace Harbin Wever is no stranger to experimentation and reinvention. A former bio-scientist, Wever’s professional life before retirement was in molecular and cell biology. Wever holds a BA and Ph.D. from Temple University and served as a research fellow at Baylor Medical Center, and a research faculty member at the University of Rochester Medical Center and its Institute of Optics.
It wasn’t until retirement that Wever found herself exploring a new phase of her life as an artist.
“It is very likely that the years I spent as an electron microsopist trained the ‘software of my mind’ to quickly scan my stash of textiles and art papers for the best match of color, pattern, and scale,” said Wever.
Wever’s works are collages of intricately cut textiles and art papers. The textiles are layered onto a muslin or hand-dyed backdrop using a fusible web. Free-motion machine stitching and minute touches of encaustic wax add dimensionality and texture to her work. The “ancient gate” hangers suspending the art quilts of the Walls & Gates Series were built in collaboration with her husband, Albrecht Wever, and Ron Southard of Moser Legacy Woodworks, Colorado, who CNC-machined them from salvaged wood.
Wever does not plan and plot her pieces, rather choosing to work spontaneously at a large easel, without preliminary drawings. Her inspiration comes from image-laden verses, from scripture and the literary works of Dante Alighiere, W.H. Auden, C.S. Lewis, and Dan Pagis, a Romanian-Israeli poet. The scenes depicted in her landscapes are a distillation of places familiar to her life: the rolling hills of Pennsylvania and western New York, the drylands of Texas, the Rocky Mountains and the Alps, the Atlantic and Caribbean beaches, and the Pacific Northwest coasts of the U.S. and Canada, as well as the verdant landscapes and rivers of the Tennessee Valley.
Wever’s work has been widely exhibited in the US and Europe (including the National Academy of Sciences Gallery in Washington, the CDC’s Global Health Odyssey Museum in Atlanta, Visions Gallery in San Diego, and Pfizer’s headquarters in New York City). More than 50 of her works were exhibited by the Gadsden Museum of Art as their invitation for their annually featured Alabama’s Finest Artist exhibition (2015/2016). Her piece “Luminescence” was Arts Huntsville’s 2013 Panoply poster art.
The Arts Huntsville Gallery at the Von Braun Center features Wever’s Requiem series, The Striking Stone series, and Within the Walls, Beyond the Gates series.