Just as Dr. Barnes added works to his collection made by his own students (Luigi Settanni, Barton Church, Harry Sefarbi), or from artists he met in the Philadelphia area (Horace Pippin, Angelo Pinto), the Shop today looks for vendors who tell a local story. One such contemporary artist is Harshita Lohia, a Philadelphia textile designer originally from Kolkata, India. Harshita studied art at the Moore College of Art and Design right here on the Parkway; her business is based in Yardley, Pennsylvania.
Another Barnes tradition shared by Harshita’s fabric is the emphasis on motifs and patterns pulled from unlikely inspiration. She uses elements of line and texture drawn from architecture, natural materials, and travel experiences, then turns them into block print designs and layers them onto silk in regular and symmetric repetitions. Many of these patterns remind me of the pieces Dr. Barnes chose when he was looking not only at textiles for his collection but also at painted wood chests or Native American pottery. To me, Barnes’s taste runs to even and symmetric patterning, an aesthetic that I feel Harshita also demonstrates in her work.
The Barnes Shop is excited to give our visitors a chance to meet the artist at our first ever Designer Trunk Show. On Friday, October 25, from 5–8 pm, Harshita will explain her printing process and talk about the inspirations and influences behind her textile and fashion designs. While her hand-printed silk scarves and ties have become lasting favorites in the shop, for this evening event we are pleased to highlight a broad selection of fashions, including many one-of-a-kind pieces.
Image: Chest over Drawers (detail), 1769. United States, Pennsylvania German. Painted tulip poplar, 28 1/2 x 52 x 22 1/2 in. (72.4 x 132.1 x 57.2 cm). 01.06.33. Photo © 2013 The Barnes Foundation