Monday, July 20, 2009

provocative needlepoint.

Artist Alicia Ross has been featured on a number of embroidery and needlecraft blogs for obvious reasons. She creates gorgeous cross stitch images based on media to explore issues of shame, the female body as object, and erotica. Often her images seem to be drawn from pornographic photographs- yet could simply be from advertisement for fashion or cosmetics too.

Her most recent show was at Black and White Gallery in Chelsea the press release stated:

Ross investigates a wide range of media to provide a contemporary reinterpretation of proper and obscene, respectable and shameful. The work, in this contemporary context, mingles teasing innocence with erotic voracity, challenges the irony of representation of the female form with standard moral differences between sanctified love and fantastical desire.

The series of Samplers and Motherboards... originate from
images from the internet, religious texts and domestic objects – all loaded with pornographic innuendos – which Ross works and
reworks using handicraft techniques, transforming them while retaining a sense of their original meaning and physical form. An
interesting tension arises when pornography is integrated with handicraft, blurring distinctions between the sacred and the profane for
it pokes fun at the very idea of leeway or discrepancy, and inevitably engages the viewer’s critical eye.

But even with the intense handwork Alicia's work still has an unexpected sterility and a machine like presence. The pixalated, blown, out female bodies and faces do not seem to critique in a raw or vulnerable way but as a censor machine might.
It is interesting to ponder these things- many similar ideas and conflicts to the work come up viewing Alicia's work as when seeing Ghada Amer's. By using that which we are critiquing how different is the voice heard by the average viewer. I do not know the answer but I find the discourse around it fascinating.
Amongst this work she also created some fascinating and provocative pillows:

See more of Alicia's work here and read a brief but interesting review here.

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