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Erma Martin Yost
Jersey City, NJ
Fiber Art, Painting

Artwork Details


The art of Erma Martin Yost is derived from the quilt making of her Mennonite mother and grandmothers.  After college and fifteen years of painting, she realized that canvas was really fabric that could be cut up, rearranged and reassembled like quilt patches. Now, juxtaposing these two traditions, Yost paints most of her own fabrics and “draws” with dense machine and hand embroidery.

The featured work is a portion of the series Handprints, exhibited at the Noho Gallery in Soho, NYC in 1998. The imagery on these shaman-shaped constructions is drawn from hand prints and pictographs left on canyon walls by Native Americans of the Southwest and the Aboriginal people of Australia. “Throughout history, hand prints have been a testament to participation in a mystery.  Whether used in religious or symbolic rituals or as an identifying mark, or simply a human gesture, the hand is a powerful symbol of expression and communication,” Yost says.

Yost is represented by the Noho Gallery where she has had 13 shows.  Her work has been selected for many juried exhibitions including 9x9x3, American Crafts Museum in NYC, Quilt National in Athens, Ohio, New Jersey Arts Annual: Crafts in several state museums, Invention and Diversity at Trenton City Museum, and the DMC International Embroidery Exhibit which toured 6 cities in Japan.  A published artist, her work is included in the book The Art Quilt by Robert Shaw, as well as 12 additional books.