February 16- March 24, 2018
New Art Center, 16 Washington Park, Newton, MA 02460
Curated by Jessica Burko and Samantha Fields
“The Artists in STITCH create work that relies on powerful language of techniques and material to convey meaning. Using a myriad of materials, STITCH explores fiber as a creator of culture and language. Live artmaking and presentations by the artists highlight techniques while exposing new ways of piecing together disparate ideas”.
I recently visited this exhibit with two friends. As both a textile and quilt lover I was attracted by the title. It was an eclectic array of two and three dimensional fiber pieces - meaning they each seemingly stood on their own rather than as part of a unified whole. I’m still not sure if that was part of the strength or a weakness in the message the curators meant to convey. It did pique my interest as I examined the items on display. I questioned how each was made with a how and a why, and if I could relate to the end result.
Interestingly, some pieces seemed to be anti-fiber, like the Tyvek quilt and video loop of a person impersonating a knitting stitch through repetitive movement. More fiber-like was Destiny Palmer’s “70 of 454, 1788” stitched rectangular patchwork instillation. Each rectangle was a representation of the enclosed space a person occupied in the cargo hold of a slave ship. It was at once incredibly disturbing as you imagined yourself confined in a 16” x 70” space allotted for each women and oddly comforting appearing as a huge oversized quilt alluding to warmth.
“70 of 454, 1788” by Destiny Palmer
Another intriguing contrast was Merrill Comeau’s “A Women’s Work is Never Done” displayed as a scattered wall of odd shaped and labeled cloth pieces. At first they seemed like leftover textile samples or discarded dry cleaning items. Upon closer inspection the individual pieces showed an array of intricate stitches and overdyed areas unique to each. Located near her display Comeau has neatly arranged a basket of sewing tools and threads integral in executing the expert skill in which she has handled her work. The intimate care, repair, and display of these items contradict the negative title often associated with woman’s work.
|“A Women’s Work is Never Done” of by Merrill Comeau|