Uchicago

The four seasons

By Laura Demanski, AM'94

Amid winter’s darkness, an art installation multiplied the colors in Rockefeller Chapel.

The grayest months of a stubborn winter found Rockefeller Memorial Chapel in full bloom. In artist Libby Chaney’s evocative fabric installation Seasons, which hung in the east transept gallery and on the chapel’s lower level from January to early March, hundreds of cloth scraps were sewn into scenes of summer, fall, winter, and spring, rich with color—and, the closer one got, with pattern and texture too.

In her sermon at a Sunday service in February, Chaney spoke about how differently she thought of each season after she and her husband moved from San Francisco to Cleveland recently, and in the process of making Seasons. While working on the piece in both cities, she came to see spring as “full of amazing force,” like the force of surging waters from the thaw. “How powerful the shoots are that come up through the crust of the earth,” she said.

Her home in Cleveland has a view of Lake Erie, and Chaney marveled at how winter transforms it: “Sometimes it looks like a patio of cut smooth rocks, sometimes it looks like a moonscape of round shapes, sometimes it looks like lace.” With her art, Rockefeller was transformed too.

Published on February 11, 2015 in The University of Chicago Magazine.

Libby Chaney. Photo by Anne Ryan.