Elizabeth G. Kuhn

Extinction, 1999

Double-weave pick-up with painted warps and wefts

45.5" x 40"


"Petals of blooms, trampled in the mud of our passing..." from a poem by Frank Edward Judd expresses the "progress" of human civilization portrayed in this weaving.  Warps and wefts painted black portray the pollution from factories and cars that endangers living things.  

The images in the inner section represent a few of the endangered species which inhabit the air and land.  The central figure is the ivory-billed woodpecker, which is the only species already extinct.  He is seen duplicated four times in the formation of a pinwheel, spinning into the black hole of eternity, here depicted by the progressively darker black ellipse of the background.  Images of the wood stork, Belize jaguar, Walker's manioc, and blue-tailed mole skink; all now or at one time on the list of endangered species, fill in the pattern of the inner section.  

The first border portrays a primary source of pollution, the automobile; and by implication any other machinery which operates by means of a combustion engine.  The by-products of the burning of fossil fuel are seen spewing into the atmosphere, along with the wastes of the factories positioned in the four outer corners.  Water, here represented by the blue-green of the outer border, is the habitat of the aquatic creatures; and is seen being fouled by toxic wastes pouring into it from these same factories.  Illustrated trying to survive in their murky environment are the Hawksbill and Kemp's Ridley sea turtles, Devil's Hole pup fish, Chinese river dolphin, Humpback whale, Gulf and Shortnose sturgeons, Eulachon, Greenback Cutthroat trout, and a Madison Cave isopod.

Another element in the pollution equation is the fact that the human population has burgeoned to the point that disposing, in a sanitary manner, of the sheer volume of bodily wastes, as well as of the mounds of garbage generated by the activities of everyday living, has become problematic.  In short, our huge numbers, together with our contemporary life style, combine to create environmental conditions not conducive to a healthful existence, and many life forms on our planet are finding it increasingly difficulty to survive in worsening living conditions.  Humans themselves are experiencing a greatly increased incidence of illnesses, such as respiratory diseases and cancers, to name just two.  We are, in essence, poisoning our planet and ourselves.

Exhibitions of Extinction
  • The Practiced Hand: Surface Design & Textiles, Warner Gallery, South Bend Regional Museum of Art, South Bend, Indiana, 1999
  • Messages and Meanings in Woven Cloth, (MFA Exhibition), Gallery 138, Kent, Ohio, 2000
  • Sculpture and Fine Crafts, St. Louis Artists' Guild, St. Louis, Missouri, 2000 (Gerdine Prize)
  • Cross Currents, WAMA Juried Exhibition of Contemporary Art, Walter Anderson Museum of Art, Ocean Springs, Mississippi, 2000
  • Pattern By Definition, Texas Women's University, Denton, Texas, 2001
  • Fantastic Fibers, Yeiser Art Center, Paducah, Kentucky, 2001
  • Fiber Arts 2001, Gallery 510 Arts Guild, Ltd., Decatur, Illinois, 2001
  • 24th Annual Contemporary Crafts, Mesa Arts Center, Mesa, Arizona, 2002
  • The Woven Comment, Thomas More College, Crestview Hills, Kentucky, 2002
  • The Woven Comment, Ginko Gallery, Oberlin, Ohio, 2003
  • Modern Iconography, Claypool-Young Art Gallery, Morehead State University, Morehead, Kentucky, 2003
  • The Edges of Grace, Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, Massachusetts (2006)