Chicago-based textile artist Bryana Bibbs documents her life in “JOURNAL Series” weavings


Photo courtesy of Bryana Bibbs

Bryana Bibbs is a Chicago-based textile artist, painter, and art educator. Her work will be displayed at 1100 Florence Gallery next September.

Ella Jeffries, Reporter

Content warning: This story includes mention of domestic violence and abuse. 

Right before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chicago-based textile artist Bryana Bibbs quit her retail job to become an artist. With limited access to her studio, Bibbs turned to the materials lying around her house to create a collection of weavings about daily life in quarantine. 

In the summer of 2020, she decided to create “The JOURNAL Series,” which is a collection of over 100 weavings that document her days and emotions through spontaneous colors, textures and materials. 

“‘The JOURNAL Series’ is completely spontaneous and all done in the basic form of woven structures,” Bibbs said. “I really want the focus to be less on the structure and more so on the materials and the colors that I’m using.” 

Bibbs said she was raised to be quiet and private, but she’s learned to be more vocal by founding and participating in domestic violence workshops and talking about her experience with narcissistic abuse. These domestic violence workshops Bibbs created were made for victims and survivors of domestic violence. They are part of her project titled “The We Were Never Alone Project”. She sees this show as a way of continuing to illustrate those feelings and experiences. 

Bibbs hopes that people viewing her work see her emotions but also connect with the pieces in their own way.

Art curator Cristobal Alday has worked closely with Bibbs over the past year to display her work. 

“She told me how her series was an everyday thing, which I think is very impressive,” he said.  “It’s so interesting being able to see the distinction between each piece each day and whatever her mental state is that given day.” 

Bibbs had originally planned to display “The JOURNAL Series” in an exhibition at the 1100 Florence Gallery this month, but due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, it has been postponed until September. 

Lisa Degliantoni, the curator and founder of 1100 Florence Gallery, explained a tremendous amount of work goes into creating pieces for a solo exhibition. She didn’t want limited capacity measures to take away from the celebration of Bibbs and her weavings. 

“Bryana’s weavings are fantastic, wonderful, messy, expressive, crazy, and calm,” she said. “Even though we postponed the show, I feel like the work will always perfectly illustrate what a lot of people were feeling and what a lot of artists’ constraints were dealing with during that time.” 

This story has been updated to include the name of the “The We Are Never Alone Project.”

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Twitter: @ellajeffriess

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