Monday, November 05, 2007

Pricked: Extreme Embroidery

One of our illustrious jewelry designers Michelle Kendrick of Recycled Rings just told me about this great show going on at the Museum of Art and Design in NYC, opening November 8th. Michelles beautiful hand embroidered rings will be sold in the gallery boutique in conjunction with the show. Thanks for the tip Michelle! We have 3 of Michelles rings left down at HQ for those interested in owning one of her mini masterpieces. To see more of her designs, check out the new work on her site:

Here's a run down of the show, along with some pics:

Samplers, table cloths, tea towels, and party dresses often spring to mind when the word “embroidery” is invoked, but the forty-eight international artists highlighted in Pricked: Extreme Embroidery tell a very different story. Pricked is the Museum of Arts & Design’s latest exploration into how centuries-old handcraft traditions are rejuvenated in the mainstream of contemporary art and design. The artists are both men and women from 17 countries as diverse as Romania, Egypt, Wales, Mexico and the Netherlands, as well as the U.S. Chosen to showcase the diversity of approaches to this standard needleworking technique, the works in Pricked: Extreme Embroidery also convey powerful and personal content that ranges from subjective dreams and diaries to controversial politics in today’s world. The works are individually arresting, provocative, satirical, and humorous.

Benji Whalen, Fast Machine, 2005
Embroidery floss on stuffed cotton
24 x 6 x 4 in.
Photo: Benji Whalen

"Pricked: Extreme Embroidery" follows the success and international acclaim of the Museum’s exhibition Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting, which premiered earlier this year at MAD and is now on an extensive tour to other art museums. Like Radical Lace, this new exhibition is poised to change the way the public views the contemporary evolution of an ancient art.Works by artists of the caliber of Maira Kalman and Elaine Reichek are shown alongside works by emerging artists such as Andrea Deszö of Transylvania, who records aphorisms and warnings received from her Transylvania mother in a series titled Lessons from My Mother. In addition, works by designers such as Mattia Bonetti document the use of embroidery techniques in the sphere of design.

Tilleke Schwarz, Into the Woods (detail), 2002
Silk, cotton, and rayon yarn hand-embroidered on dyed linen cloth, fabric, lace, textile paint
29 1/8 x 26 in.
Photo: Rob Mostert

In addition to fibrous materials like cotton and wool, artists and designers employ the unexpected ranging from stone to digital prints to human hair and cosmetic skin peels. A North Carolina artist, Nava Lubelski, explores the contradictory activities of spoiling and mending by stitching over spills, stains, and rips she finds on tablecloths, napkins, and canvas. The artist uses canvas stretchers as her embroidery loop, and the wooden strips are often visible through the mended tears.

Andrea Dezsö, My Grandmother Loved Me Even Though ..., 2005-2006
Embroidery, cotton thread (DMC) on white cotton canvas
Approx 6 x 9 in.
Photo: Andrea Dezsö

The artists in Pricked use embroidery as a means to reflect, both internally, and on the outside world. Dutch artist Tilleke Schwarz stitches the subconscious; dreamlike scenarios, fleeting thoughts, and imaginative imagery recorded on cloth. In Fast Machine, 2006, Benji Whalen embroiders tattoos onto a wall-mounted, stuffed arm. For the exhibition, the artist has created a large installation of hanging tattooed arms, each with imagery alluding to alternative culture and art.

Nava Lubelski, Side Dish, 2004
Hand-embroidered thread on ink stained cotton canvas
12 x 12 in.
Photo: Nava Lubelski

The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated, full-color catalogue published by MAD that includes an essay by chief curator, David McFadden; illustrations of works by each artist, along with short biographies; and an index. For more information about ordering the catalogue, please call The Store at 212-956-3535 x157.

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