Embroidered Stories and Knitted Tales
Sept 24 - Nov 5, 2006
Knitting and embroidery as a means of expression in fine art have become a global phenomenon, appearing in galleries all over the world. Contemporary artists have fully embraced “Yarn Art” creating works that collapse the presumption that these traditional practices are for conventional use only. This medium-specific exhibition demonstrates the rich cross-fertilization between crafts and contemporary art. The work—abstract, surreal and conceptual—focuses on the multifaceted connotations of domesticity, handicraft, social statement and machine-produced art.
The artists in this exhibition, from all over the U.S., are looking back at heirlooms and relearning lost techniques and at the same time straying from tradition, introducing new materials never before associated with their craft. New York artist Stephen Sollins examines the disparity between “high” and “low” art by systematically deconstructing sentimental cross-stitches and restitching them into abstract canvases. Masako Takahashi, who resides in Mexico and California, embroiders on kimonos with hair (mostly her own) in an invented alphabet inspired by ancient scripts. Didi Dunphy from Athens, Georgia shows off her hybrid upholstered and embroidered skateboards from her current Recess series.
Typically, knitted items bring to mind notions of comfort, security and domesticity. Contemporary artists use these connotations to make their own statements about gender, home, and politics. Arizona artist Mark Newport creates hand-knit superhero costumes. Through methods traditionally associated with female cultural identity, Newport expresses his own ideas about male identity in American society. For Elaine Bradford from Houston, the act of knitting brings to mind hours of labor, societal histories, and concepts of comfort and warmth. She creates sweaters for items including trees, vacuum cleaners, groceries, and taxidermied animals infusing them with anthropomorphic qualities—making them ridiculous and funny, but also morbid and sad.
All of the works in Embroidered Stories / Knitted Tales, whatever form they take, celebrate with exuberance needlework’s liberation from conventional uses, welcoming it enthusiastically as a medium for fine art.
Didi Dunphy, Leah Markov-Lindsey, Bonnie L. Stack, Lacey Jane Roberts, Joy Kampia, Dee Clements, Matthew Cox, Darrel Morris, Lindsay Obermeyer, Sue Whitmore, Laura Kamian, Sara Christensen Blair, Elaine Bradford , Maria Piñeres, Megan Whitmarsh, Patricia Dahlman, Mark Newport, Frances Trombly, Susan Hyde Greene, Adelle Lutz, Stephen Sollins, Maggie Birmingham, Donna Bonavita, Adele Crawford, Deborah Yaffe, Maggy Rozycki Hiltner, Bettie Ward, Matthew Gerring, Connie Harris, Dana Hemenway,Anna Maltz, Marina Vendrell Renaut, Allison Watkins, Annalise Vobis, Lori Hanson Goldman, Theresa Honeywell