Needlework has a rich history in America. From early native Americans to the first European colonists needlework has been used both as a record and as a means of communication. Family history and traditions are remembered in needlecraft, embroidered details communicate messages of status, wealth, and beauty. Modern needlework may utilize the same techniques, but the message has been broadened. The Storied Stitch provides a space for that message. Here we see traditional techniques in uncommon contexts, reminding us of our past while exploring current issues. We also see the stitch pushed beyond the familiar shape, stretching and sketching and living in a new form. What begins as an intimate craft results in work that reveals a narrative both personal and universal.
Megan Canning brings sensuality and movement to a normally staid subject matter, the anatomical illustration.
Inspired by the artful inner workings of the human body, Canning reveals the beauty in the scientific. The tongue becomes a landscape of fiery taste buds, the heart revealed as a pulsating muscle as well as the keeper of our desires. The physical and emotional body is shown to clash and harmonize, illuminating the art in the mechanics of humanity.
Embracing and challenging traditional female roles in society Orly Cogan stitches her dynamic tableaux on vintage printed and embroidered household linens. Using found tablecloths as canvas, Cogan explores and subverts feminine archetypes and stereotypes, often making herself and other characters from her life the subject. Her vibrant contemporary thread drawings contrast the regimented pattern and stitch work of the linen’s previous era, and the woman who stitched it. The art of embroidery connects these women through the generations; Cogan’s evocative subject matter breaks from the expected creating a dichotomy that is humorous, thought provoking and exciting.
Cinematic, dreamlike and evocative Michelle Kingdom’s embroideries are tiny worlds unto themselves. Each composition is a single frame from a narrative, one which the viewer must create. Her works shine with an inner voice, and their small scale brings the viewer in close to listen to the message. The thread is used as a sketching tool, making images kinetic and alive. These psychological landscapes open the way to explore personal mythologies, memories and relationships.
Using a traditional and familiar embroidery technique Katrina Majkut challenges expectations with her provocative images. Majkut references conventional women’s roles as mother and wife through her use of cross-stitch, a technique often associated with domestic skill and moral values. To reinvent these themes, she focuses on images of women’s reproductive health, sparking discussion of women’s rights, the role of government in women’s health, and the effect on social mores. Majkut’s feminist approach to a stereotypically “feminine” craft embraces women’s history while forging ahead.
Inspired by braces worn to correct her childhood scoliosis Tamar Stone focuses on the history of female body image and the methods used to “correct” imperfect female forms. Themes of constriction, correction and rigidity can be seen throughout her work, in reference to both the physical forms of women and their place in society. Advice concerning health, beauty and etiquette is taken directly from vintage magazines and embroidered onto cloth pages, then bound and buttoned, the spine of the book laced tightly into a vintage doll corset. Although the text focuses on a bygone era, the message resonates in contemporary society. By exposing and highlighting the ill advice of yesterday’s society, Stone challenges us to reexamine the beliefs we hold today.
The Storied Stitch at the Azarian McCullough Art Gallery
March 31st through April 19th
A welcome reception will be held on Wednesday April 8 from 4:30 to 6:30, with an artist talk beginning at 5:30 that evening.
A closing reception will be held Sunday April 19 from 2:00 to 4:00, with an artist talk beginning at 3:00 that afternoon.
Gallery Hours are Monday through Thursday, noon to 2:00 and by appointment. Call (845) 398 4195 or email email@example.com to schedule.
For more information go to stac.edu/amag
The gallery is located at the base of Costello Tower on the campus of St. Thomas Aquinas College, 125 Route 340, Sparkill, NY.
The college can be reached by Metro North to Tarry Town or bus to Sparkill. Taxi service is available to reach the college campus.