The Embroidered Image at Robert Mann Gallery

Jessica Wohl, White Mask, 2012
© Jessica Wohl, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery

 The latest exhibition at the Robert Mann Gallery is one of home sewn sensibility. Orly Cogan, presenting the work of various artists, curates the show titled The Embroidered Image. The exhibition takes vintage photographs, catalogue pages and x-rays, reclaiming them with hand embroidery to turn them on their head.

The work intrudes upon the picturesque life of the past. Delicate lines of thread insert color, destruct staged portraiture, expand the line of vision and block out the images altogether, interrupting typical ethereal suburbia. It’s as if the photos were found in a dusty family photo album hidden in the attic. This combined with the idea of home crafting, give the indication of domestic life, expanding the idea of embroidery to serve a more artistic purpose.

The artists each take their own angle on The Embroidered Image. Melissa Zexter uses the context of the scene, overlaid with pattern to fit the theme. Pinky/MM Bass dissects naked human bodies, sewing in anatomical forms. Diane Meyer’s work uses pixilation, blurring the stark solid architectural environments. Hagar Vadimon uses brightly colored geometric imagery, masking out portraits and inserting totem poles into perfectly manicured suburban lawns. Matthew Cox and Orly Cogan use cartoons to add childlike pop culture on x-rays and art catalogues, poking fun at more sophisticated matters. Photo collages are sewn together by Jane Waggoner Deschner, in an almost scrapbooking manner, another connection to domestic life. Jessica Wohl uses thickly embroidered starbursts to block out entire subjects to isolate certain areas of the photo. And finally Hinke Schreuder’s rough embroidery, ink and linen give the look of images printed on raw silk.

The show runs until August 15.

Text by Ashley Minyard

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