My work focuses on the synthesis of acrylic painting and needlework. Currently, my process investigates the physically defining aspects of both mediums and how the materials I employ determine the meaning of the simple shapes and lines I create. For example, painting a scribble on my canvas creates a spontaneous, impulsive mark, while embroidering a scribbled shape leads to a premeditated one. Overall, I aim to highlight the differences between embroidery and painting and how their processes give meaning to the shapes I use. Alongside using scribbled marks, I also prefer to create shapes and lines by hand, without the help of rulers or other tools, to highlight the nature of imperfection and the constant presence of human error. My shapes and spaces are meant to make the viewer uncomfortable by their asymmetry or “improper” placement, and are made more dynamic by the recognizable effects of the human hand. My process also highlights the importance of layers, for I alternate between painting and embroidering as I work, building up textures and surfaces. Each coat of paint or piece of thread is informed by what has been laid down before it, emphasizing the physical relationship between the two materials in my practice.
I am also interested in exploring the gendered associations that both materials carry by presenting them together. Embroidery and other “domestic” forms of art have been defined as craft or kitsch in the past and were not considered “high” or fine art until the 1960’s and 70’s when feminist artists reclaimed such processes as a form of celebration. While embroidery’s classification as art has elevated, it is still considered a feminine medium, and its long history connected to female domestic handiwork cannot be ignored. Paint, on the other hand, has always been regarded as a prominent artistic material. While there have and always will be female painters, the European, patriarchal art history we are taught today has continued to value white male painters above all others. In understanding the histories and perceptions of both practices, it is impossible for me not to view these materials as gendered. By combining both embroidery and painting in the same works I am exploring the dynamic between both histories, as well as attempting to change my audience’s perceptions of the two mediums.
While my relationship with painting has been consistent throughout my artistic career, I have only recently reintroduced needlework into my practice. Textile art and embroidery have been a part of my personal history and relationships with female family members since I was a child. However as I became more serious about my art, my interest in embroidery dwindled and I focused more on my paintings instead. It was not until this past year that I recognized how strong my relationship was with textile art, and I reintegrated the medium back into my practice alongside painting. This combination between my two favorite materials has fueled my creativity, and has led to me to try out many techniques and supplementary materials. As a result, my entire practice is in an experimental state. Although I am settling into a stable process, I believe that my art will always be investigative and exploratory, as I am constantly discovering new concepts to carry out. By working with two very different mediums, each with their own processes and purposes, I am sure that I will never run out of new experiments to execute.