John Hess’s textile art has dimension at the Kimball Art Center |

John Hess’s textile art has dimension at the Kimball Art Center

In addition to wall-mounted textile art, John Hess creates three-dimensional woven works.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

John Hess’ ‘Permutations’

Through Aug. 18

Kimball Art Center, 1401 Kearns Blvd.

Free, but donations are accepted


Kimball Art Center curator Nancy Stoaks jumped on the chance to showcase local artist John Hess’s exhibit, “Permutations.”

The exhibit, which opened June 15 and will run through Aug. 18, features flat woven and threaded works juxtaposed with three-dimensional weaves that are in a display that starts in the art center’s Cafe Gallery and continues up the stairs.

“We don’t get a lot of opportunities to showcase fiber and textile art, so it’s exciting for us to show John’s work,” Stoaks said. “The Kimball Art Center makes a point to introduce the community to artwork in a variety of media, and we enjoy showcasing what the best artists in our community are making.”

Stoaks was introduced to Hess through the Kimball Art Center’s exhibitions committee.

“John has done a lot of public art installations in the community, and I knew about those,” she said, “There is such a tactile quality with the woven material that John works with. I love how John brings in a sculptural and architectural element to the medium, which are things you don’t really think of when you hear the word fiber arts. So I know there will be nice conversations that will take place when people see his works.”

Hess, recovering from injury, answered questions emailed by the Park Record over the weekend.

Park Record: What was your attraction to textile art as opposed to painting or sculpting? Was it the texture of the material, folding the material or working with the loom?

John Hess: All three.

P.R.: What sparks your creative juices in regards to what you want to create?

J.H.: Something I see, especially patterns in nature, geometric dimension as expressed in folded paper. Often woven patterns suggested while weaving open up new possibilities.

P.R.: Does the piece you finish closely match what envisioned?

J.H.: Sometimes. When I finish a piece I can see other possibilities that could have worked better, like placement or scale, but I decide what pattern/shape/color would work best and stay with it.

P.R.: What is the biggest recurring artistic challenge you face in being a textile artist?

J.H.: Finding the time and endurance to start a new project and eventually moving through the preliminaries like measuring yardage, rolling on warp and threading the heddles before you are finally free to explore your creative potentials.

Textile artist John Hess uses a loom to create series of colorful woven panels that are currently on exhibit at the Kimball Art Center through Aug. 18.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

P.R.: What are the personal and artistic rewards of going through the challenges?

J.H.: The ultimate reward is to see the finished art and how it has taken shape. The biggest challenge is hoping that all your work you have put into this piece will connect favorably with the public.

P.R.: What has been the biggest work you have done, and what were the circumstances that surrounded it?

J.H.: A public art commission for College of Eastern Utah, Utah State University. Six suspended groupings of double woven metallic cylinders in various heights and each section joined together with metal rivets to the acrylic inserts.

P.R.: What was the most complex work you have completed, and why was it so complicated?

J.H.: A public art commission for the Magna Library where two layers were woven independently, each with inserts of copper panels, mirrors and dichroic color changing panels. The real challenge was to keep the layers separated where each could be moved up on top to reveal different visual effects.

P.R.: How do you know when a work is done?

J.H.: A work is never completely done, always in a state of evolution. If its a one time work, you do your best to unify all the variations. A series is a good way to refine a concept more fully.

P.R.: What does it mean to have your pieces showing at the Kimball Art Center’s Cafe Gallery?

J.H.: It’s an opportunity to present my art to a different audience and to get new insights of how you can develop your art in future works.

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