EXHIBITIONS
Speaking With Threads
Jane Sauer, Curator
August 28-October 25, 2015

Opening Reception:
Friday, August 28, 6-8pm

Speaking With Threads

Opening Reception

Speaking With Threads

Opening Reception

Speaking With Threads

Opening Reception

Speaking With Threads

Opening Reception

Speaking With Threads

Opening Reception

Speaking With Threads

Opening Reception

Speaking With Threads

Opening Reception

Speaking With Threads

Opening Reception

Speaking With Threads

Opening Reception

Speaking With Threads

Opening Reception

Speaking With Threads

Opening Reception

Speaking With Threads

Opening Reception

Speaking With Threads

Opening Reception

Speaking With Threads

"See No Evil, Here No Evil, Speak No Evil" by Mary Bero

Speaking With Threads

"Life on the Grid" by Mary Bero

Speaking With Threads

"Lovers" by Mary Bero

Speaking With Threads

"Portrait: Black" by Mary Bero

Speaking With Threads

"Portrait: White" by Mary Bero

Speaking With Threads

"Watermelon World" by Sonya Clark; photo credit: Taylor Dabney

Speaking With Threads

"Cabin" by Kathy Halper

Speaking With Threads

"End of the Day at the Art Museum" by Cindy Hickok

Speaking With Threads

"Mixed Bags" by Cindy Hickok

Speaking With Threads

"See America First" by Cindy Hickok

Speaking With Threads

"You Scratch My Back and I'll Scratch Yours" by Cindy Hickok

Speaking With Threads

"Batman 8" by Mark Newport

Speaking With Threads

"Batgirl: a Road Home" by Mark Newport

Speaking With Threads

"Batman 712" by Mark Newport

Speaking With Threads

"Catwoman 73" by Mark Newport

Speaking With Threads

"Rawhide Kid and the Sensational Seven 2" by Mark Newport

Speaking With Threads

"Closing Time at the Met" by Carol Shinn

Speaking With Threads

"North Face" by Carol Shinn

Speaking With Threads

"Three Doorways" by Carol Shinn

Speaking With Threads

"Wall Step" by Carol Shinn

Speaking With Threads

"Fast Machine" by Benji Whalen

Speaking With Threads

"Good Shepard" by Benji Whalen

Speaking With Threads

"Here and There" by Benji Whalen

Speaking With Threads

"Man of Sorrows" by Benji Whalen

Speaking With Threads

"Resistance is Useless" by Benji Whalen

Speaking With Threads

"Sorry Sight" by Benji Whalen

Featured Artists:
Mary Bero, Sonya Clark, Kathy Halper, Cindy Hickok, Mark Newport, Carol Shinn, and Benji Whalen

Innovations in Textiles 10
Gallery Hop

Friday, October 2, 5:00-8:00 pm

Curator’s Talk in the Gallery
Saturday, October 3, 2:00 pm

Workshop

Finding the Magic in Disappearing Fabrics with Cindy Hickok
Friday, October 2, 10:00 am-4:00 pm

Poetry Reading

Stitching Verses in the gallery
Thursday, October 15, 6:30 pm
Presented by the St. Louis Poetry Center

This exhibition is presented in conjunction with Innovations in Textiles 10, a regional collaborative event celebrating fiber art.

Curatorial Statement
Jane Sauer


Speaking with Threads brings together the voices of 7 artists using linear elements of thread as a means of communication. Embroidery, a technique loosely connected to the technical practice of each artist in the exhibition, has been dated to the Warring States period (5th - 3rd century BC) in China. The process was originally used to tailor, patch, mend and reinforce cloth. This utilitarian approach led to the decorative possibilities of embellishing with stitches. The artists and craftspeople of the time developed new ways to turn, knot, loop, braid, and twist pliable linear threads to create decorative stitches.   Strangely, there have been no significant changes or advancements in the materials or techniques used in embroidery in the 2500 years since its invention. Rather, the changes that have taken place in the approach to stitchery or embroidery are seen in how it is used. 

I selected these artists for their ability to use a simple and modest linear element to create a large statement. The artists I selected all have a distinguished and straightforward voice. I am fascinated by the end result from the accumulation of hundreds and perhaps thousands of small linear elements coming together, to make a powerful statement. Whether diminutive or large in scale, the pieces draw the viewer in to examine how each is constructed. Carol Shinn is a master with an ordinary sewing machine, using the threads as pencil strokes, building up layers of color, light, and shadow; an image emerges from a chaotic ground of tiny marks. Cindy Hickok also creates using the sewing machine, applying layer upon layer of strokes of thread until she has created a fabric of her own. Hickok’s wry sense of humor is what drives her narratives. Her art requires detective work to identify all the characters dancing across her backgrounds. Discovery is an important part of the impact of Hickok’s work.

Mark Newport is a master of many textile techniques. Knitting has been of prime interest to him in recent years. He uses stitches to create a strong graphic plane. Newport explores the supposed heroes of our culture, exposing their vulnerabilities as well as expressing their presumed power to protect. There is an uneasy dichotomy in the use of a female-oriented art form to create an ultra-masculine image. A level of anxiety is also created by the need for these super heroes to protect the innocent from the horrors of our society- the rapists, child molesters, robbers, and the bombs and hand guns which seem to be lurking behind every corner.

Mary Bero fearlessly breaks all the traditional rules of fiber art. She deftly combines embroidery, painting, and sculptural elements to create exuberant works of art. She is a virtuoso of color. Her images are loosely connected, as if part of a daydream or, at times a nightmare. The various elements in the picture plane come together through a succession of small marks, and build to a cohesive whole.

Kathy Walker questions the disappearing space between the public and the private. Her images are derived from material she finds on social media. She looks at the role technology plays in the lives of today’s adolescents, using a technique and material, embroidery, that is oppositional to the fast pace of the internet.

Benji Whalen’s heavily embroidered tattoos on stuffed arms clearly point to the cultural divide between generations and ethnic groups. He references current subcultures and lifestyles. His sculptures also raise the question of “what is art?” Does art have to be located on something that can be placed in a gallery or museum to be valid? Or can it be a part of your body? If art is a part of the owner, then is it personal and not public?  Can it be understood by the 60+ generation in this country?

Sonya Clark uses the symbols of race and identity to engage the viewer in a dialogue. She has an ongoing interest in the quality of black hair and its multi layered meaning. Hair in Clark’s repertoire is woven, stitched, twisted, and manipulated in unconventional ways, creating recognizable objects that become political statements upon closer examination.

It is my hope that this exhibit illuminates the overlap between art, craft, and popular culture.
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