Thursday, 10 March 2011

Home From Home exhibition alongside Leeds Artist Book Fair

I made a series of embroidered hoops called Stitched Up a couple months ago, and was really pleased when this call out for art came along, and Louise Atkinson (curator on behalf of ABC) wanted to include it, as well as a new piece I proposed specially for the show.

This is some info from the facebook page:

Preview: Fri 11th March 6 - 8pm
Refreshments provided but feel free to BYOB too!
Exhibition continues Sat 12th - Fri 18th March (closed Sunday)
Opening hours 11am - 5pm
Also open 6 - 8pm for scheduled performances during the week.
With ideas ranging from the domestic to displacement, over 80 artists from 7 different countries have contributed to this years Artist Book Collective exhibition around the theme of Home. 153 Woodhouse Lane is the setting for Home from Home, to be shown alongside the 14th Leeds International Artist Book Fair. As a spacious Victorian terrace situated over three floors, it provides the perfect backdrop for this site-specific exhibition.

The image below is an arrangement of all the pieces in Stitched Up. 

I wanted to depict how woman are (born) ‘stitched up’. The hoops depict: Marking lines for facial cosmetic surgery, Caesarean scar, Mastectomy scar, Aborted fetus, Surgical instruments, Corset, Chinese footbinding, Hospital bed, Female genital circumcision Type lll scar, Surgeon’s mask, Cervical cancer cells, and Gynaecology Chair. A normally private sphere of the tools and results of mutilation, operations, and surgical procedures imposed by society and culture, including women, on themselves, and on each other, are bared for all to see. The format, like a specimen container, puts these female issues under the microscope. Feminine pain, loss and sadness are counterweighted by insecurity, vanity, and obsessiveness. We are specimens under constant scrutiny, with skin stretched, tweeked and slashed, needles pulled, eternally viewed.

The Four Sufferings (birth, ageing, sickness and death) suited the theme of the exhibition with it's Victorian references. The series theatrically plays on our heritage where private suffering must live out on public display. In these pastiches of Victorian decor and motifs, enduring contradictions emerge: between dark and light; the bleak and the opulent, tragic and trivial. We must continually grapple with our mortality and our desires.
I selected 4 hoops for this piece and decided to use the largest for birth, when we have the most life left, and down to death. I worked the black yarn in sections to give a sense of form to what is only a silhouette. It was quite theraputic just working in one colour! The festooned pelmets where the most challenging aspect of the pieces. I also had to work out a hanging method before sending off. If you get to see the show, I'd love to get any comments you might have! 

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