follow it down

I’ve been doing quite a bit of embroidery and I am planning to start making things to sell soon. (“Soon” = probably not for a few months.) I could use the money and I enjoy embroidery quite a lot. It’s very pleasing to sit for hours stitching. If you don’t believe me, behold below the internet-sourced collection of embroidery I have scoured in a few obsessive fits.

Thanks to an article posted to ArtInfo about the Whitney Biennial, I found out about Elaine Reichek‘s work. The writer in me (“writer” + “me” = verbose, self-important, insatiable) really appreciates her use of quotes from friends, family, and literature. I also really like the cultural anthropological feel to her work, that is both intellectually and visually stimulating.

Detail of "Sampler (Scarlet Letter)", 1996. Hand embroidery on linen. Elaine Reichek.

Mr. X Stitch’s blog is a bit overwhelming for me. In a lot of ways. Here’s a bit of a sampler (oh yeah, embroidery pun): The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge. Really, I can’t even pick one image. There are so many talented artists posted to this blog. Embroidery as Art is another great embroidery blog, especially as an approachable and inspiring introduction to embroidery.

Mira directed me toward Kate Kretz and Erin Endicott’s embroidery. I had been thinking about hair embroidery because of how all my life I’ve been very interested in hair, to the extent that I collect hair in jars. (Although, for the record, no pubic hair.) And then I got the link to the hair embroidery of Kretz and it made me all the more excited to try it out sometime.

Oubliette 1 (detail), 2006. Human hair embroidery. Kate Kretz.
Healing Sutra #3. Hand embroidery on antique fabric stained with walnut ink cut to pattern of child's dress. Erin Endicott.

Husband found an article on Huffington Post about Kathy Halper’s work, which has a sense of humor and ugliness about its content that I can appreciate.  She uses images from Facebook that teenagers post of themselves, and it’s paired with text that heightens the kind of grotesque absurdity of the images. They’re not very visceral, though. Mostly outlines. At first this turned me off a bit, but considering the subject, it seems really appropriate. Most of the images include teenagers engaging some kind of sexual, pseudo-sexual, or intensely physical activity, implying a kind of hedonism, and yet there’s nothing truly sensual about what they’re doing. The images and the text are generic, belonging to anyone and no one.

Girl just have to accept. Kathy Halper.

I love the way Joetta Maue creates a kind of sentimentality that feels sincere yet lacks presumption. Admittedly, sometimes it goes a little too far for me, but that’s okay. My favourite pieces of Maue’s use a variety of fabrics, creating an odd sense of texture and space. But who doesn’t like embroidered handwriting? Only robots. Poorly programmed robots. So there’s quite a number of charming pieces on her website.

8 months, 2011. Hand embroidered, appliqued, and painted re-appropriated linen with found cloth. Joetta Maue.

There’s more, but I feel like I should stop now… until tomorrow.

illuminate this

Yesterday I spent a few hours in the ETSU library with Robert. He did his chemistry homework and I looked at art book – illuminated manuscripts, Hodler, Velazquez, El Greco, Zurbaran, de Lempicka, and Jenny Saville. While scanning pages from an old sketchbook the day before yesterday, I was reminded of how northern Renaissance painters influenced my work. I was interested in the structure – multi-paneled sections of narrative – but also in the visual tools used to explain intangible occurrences. Although most people would probably cite contemporary references for Between Two Thoughts, I’m convinced that on some subconscious level the appeal of earlier ideas were still present.

So this brought me to illuminated manuscripts, which remind me of so many other things. (Click on images to view larger.)

Plus, there’s Mary Magdalene and SATAN in the manuscripts. (I feel the need to say SATAN in all caps because of how I actually say the word. When referring to the Devil seriously, I use his other names. SATAN is only for jest. That’s the kind of relationship we have.)

Oh, and of course, there were horses and dogs everywhere.

My camera battery died before I could record more images, but I plan to track down certain paintings online. Or return to them in the library some other time. I sketched out as much as I could. Mostly monsters and figurative compositions.

Cats and goats and SATAN

My “reference” folder is out of control.

Here’s what I was researching about three months ago + yesterday morning when I was busy not being able to sleep.

A couple of the prints are pretty obvious if you know anything about art history – Albrecht Durer. It’s hard to miss that “AD” signature. There’s also a Francisco Goya drawing in there.

Reading about witches, witch hunts, witchery, etc. Primarily mapping the timeline – starting in Europe – and the things that tended to lead to accusation, method for “proving” the woman or man was a witch.