Katherine Westphal, textile artist, passes at 99
Katherine Westphal, an infectiously enthusiastic textile artist whose innovative collagelike designs helped make her a leader of the wearable art movement in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1960s and ’70s, died on March 13 at her home in Berkeley, Calif. She was 99.
Ms. Westphal’s canvases — which included quilts, kimonos, dresses and baskets — reflected her life and her world travels, and were distinguished by her pioneering use of heat-dying processes to transfer photocopied images onto fabrics. Her vivid works are in many permanent museum collections, including those of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
“Their work demonstrated a restlessness and playfulness,” Ezra Shales, a professor of art history at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, said in a telephone interview. “They could fuse imagery from mass culture and patterns from ancient textiles with élan, without becoming didactic or heavy-handed.” (With the "they" referring to Katherine's equally talented husband, Ed Rossbach.)