Colleen Toutant Merrill works in fiber– from stitching to embroidery; and interestingly enough, it makes sense that she would use such a traditional folk medium to examine contemporary subject matter such as social media, Google, and Google Maps. These Internet resources are, essentially, a modern day electronic quilt of sorts, piecing together not only our societal curiosities or interests, but also our performative identities in a community.
On this note, Merrill explains, “Quilting bees and embroidery traditionally served as social outlets and communication. Quilts and embroidery both have encoded symbolism and explicit messages as do digital communications.”
Sean Mahan’s refreshing acrylic paintings on wood depict girls as creative spirits deeply empowered by and engaged with their own crafty muses. Unlike the classical order, where female figures were often shown as objects that inspire– here, the buzz of breathing maker is most present within the the young lady subjects themselves. Each portrait shows a confident furrowed brow or contemplative daze completely focused inward on a project at hand, unaware of the artist’s gaze. Their identities appear to be emerging from within, not dependent on an external eye.
London-based artist Julie Cockburn revises old throw-away photographs and paintings with embroidery thread, shears, and other sundry items to create new contemporary curiosities. Each delicately considered piece contemplates craft culture in relation to the industrial age or mass production, and the identities that roam invisibly from one transmission to the next.
Of her work, Flowers Gallery suggests, “Julie introduces ideas to found objects that generate dialogue about modernity and art history, gender and identity, nature and urbanity and the relationship between process and idea.”
Philadelphia based artist Erin M Riley creates incredible handwoven tapestries with hand dyed wool on nylon warp. Her work touches on issues of death, self exploitation through gender and the internet, addiction, and loneliness.