Elizabeth Talford Scott. Hourglass. 1984. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Collectors Circle Fund for Art by African Americans, Baltimore Appliqué Society Fund, and purchased as the gift of the Joshua Johnson Council, and Mr. and Mrs. Irvin Greif, Jr., Lutherville, Maryland, BMA 2012.225. © Estate of Elizabeth Talford Scott

Eyewinkers, Tumbleturds and Candlebugs: The Art of Elizabeth Talford Scott


Twenty-five years ago, the Maryland Institute College of Art’s (MICA) inaugural Exhibition Development Seminar (EDS) organized a landmark retrospective of Elizabeth Talford Scott’s vibrant mixed-media fiber works. This fall, the BMA is partnering with MICA and the Estate of Elizabeth Talford Scott at Goya Contemporary to build upon that legacy with an exhibition guest-curated by MICA Curator-in-Residence Emeritus George Ciscle in dialogue with a new generation of EDS students.

Eyewinkers, Tumbleturds and Candlebugs: The Art of Elizabeth Talford Scott will feature 20 works by the artist that bridge the gap between fine art and craft.

Elizabeth Talford Scott inherited a creative legacy from generations of craftspeople in her family who honed their expertise and persisted in their artistry through the deprivations of slavery and its aftermath in sharecropping, migration, and segregated city life on their quest for a life of freedom. Her innovative fiber works incorporate stones, buttons, shells, bones, sequins, beads, and other unconventional objects to imagine personal and worldly narratives and symbols that reference flowers, animals, astronomy, insects, sea creatures, monsters, dreams, superstitions, and good luck charms.

Highlights include the majestic Plantation (1980), a dazzling quilt in the BMA’s collection that envisions the big dipper as a matriarchal beacon of freedom, and Joyce’s Quilt (1983), a tribute to her daughter, artist Joyce J. Scott.

EDS students, led by instructor Deyane Moses, will organize The Elizabeth Talford Scott Community Celebration with presentations at eight institutions across Baltimore City: Cryor Art Gallery at Coppin State University, Johns Hopkins University, Maryland Center for History and Culture, MICA, James E. Lewis Museum of Art at Morgan State University, The Peale, Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, and the Walters Art Museum. These presentations will be on view February through May 2024.

This exhibition is guest curated by George Ciscle, MICA Curator-in-Residence Emeritus, and organized by Associate Curator of Contemporary Art Cecilia Wichmann.