Archives for category: Thread Reviews (Joetta Maue)

I mentioned this exhibit on my blog yesterday but needed to have an excuse to further research the work of Anna Betbeze. She currently has an exhibit up at Kate Werble Gallery in NY and I cannot wait to check it out.

Anna is a young artist, under 35, originally from Alabama who went through the prestigious art program at Yale to end up as a working artist here in Brooklyn. Her work takes Flokati Rugs, think wool & shaggy, and she then dyes, beats, burns, and rips the work until it becomes a gorgeous but deconstructed skin of texture.

In a way her work is unclear, I remain unsure as what to take from it and her specific choice of canvas but in the end they are gorgeous abstract objects that have a more textural and therefore physical experience then most works of this style.

Her NY Times review by Karen Rosenberg beautifully said:

(The shows title, Moss Garden) refer to Michel Foucault, who lectured that “the garden is a rug onto which the whole world comes to enact its symbolic perfection, and the rug is a sort of garden that can move across space.” Fortunately the artworks don’t take themselves as seriously; they have a wonderfully forlorn, abject quality that inspires more empathy than theory.

I love the reference to the Foucault quote but do not agree that these works do not take themselves seriously, I feel that the “forlorn” quality is the “seriousness” of the work and though very abstract they also must be incredibly textural and through the process quite distressed and overworked.

I cannot help but wonder what the role of that deconstruction is… I feel that if an artist is choosing to take something and then in essence destroy it to make something new that there must be intention behind this act and I am curious to what Anna’s intention is.

Visually these works intrigue and satisfy, conceptually I still have questions and have much more ambiguous feelings but needless to say I cannot wait to head to the city and see them myself this weekend.

It would make a great day to see this show on the same trip.

Read another thoughtful review here.

Until next time keep your needle threaded.


Joetta Maue is a full time artist primarily using photography and fibers. Her most recent work is a series of embroideries and images exploring intimacy. Joetta exhibits her work throughout the United States and internationally, and authors the art and craft blog Little Yellowbird as well as regularly contributes to Mr. X Stitch. Joetta lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, baby son, two cats, a goldfish.

Last post I talked about my take on the million dollar art market and all of its many faceted complicated layers, so if you missed my post last time go check it out here. But today I will be focusing on the 2nd question posted to me:

What do I think about the expectation put on artist’s to be Mona Lisa famous in order to be successful?

In short, I think it is a shame. But I also do not think it is true either. I think the bigger issue is how media, literature, and old school professors romanticize the idea of the “artist” as the solitary figure, working like a mad man on their work, inspired by a flash of light. Being an artist in real life is NOT romantic, it is not easy, and I do not think any artist ever got shot with a flash of light-like inspiration.

Lauren DiCioccio

I think in general there is this “idea” that an artist chooses his or her art over life and that they essentially live, breathe, eat their art, that they are naturally blessed with their talent and success like magic, and they do not care if they make money, eat food, or have a nice apt.- and to me that is bull.  I actually have a friend who was quite talented whom gave up on his path as a writer because he could not fulfill the romantic idea of the writer. Though in truth he could write very well.

John Singer Sargent

I feel that this over romanticized idea of the artist perpetuates the “Mona Lisa” famous myth.  In other words it encourages this idea that you are nothing as an artist unless you are a bonified celebrity with your art.  I find this entire idea completely ridiculous as many of the most well-known artists of the past were never truly recognized for their art until they were dead, but yet they kept painting or sculpting or creating and kept getting by even thought during their lifetime they were never famous.

The celebrity artist truly began with Andy Warhol and has rolled like a snowball getting bigger and bigger. But to me it simply does not matter.  In the end the artist get’s to decide what “success” is not any one else.  To me the best art is made by artists whom are motivated by their passion and their intention rather than if they are in a “successful” gallery or not, or how much their work is selling for.  They make art because they are artists.

Cai Guo Quiang at the Guggenheim

To me the pressure in academia and media to become the next “big thing” perpetuates the over blown art prices and the shoddy work that is selling for those prices. Academia simply wants a “big” name they can spout out to alumni and prospective students, galleries want to drive prices up for their own pocket books (though only very few galleries make much money) and the artist’s have the choice to buy into it and only feel successful when they model for a Fashion Designer or have a show at the Guggenheim. But to me this is the artist’s fault for believing the myth.

Tracey Emin modeling for Vivienne Westwood.

The reality is that the true success of an artist is they keep making, they keep sharing, they keep telling their story, and hopefully they keep their integrity too.  Yes, we all want to make a good living off our art, and sure I would love to be represented by a blue chip gallery and never have to worry about how I am going to pay for my studio again. But to me this is a sign of financial success and there are many other forms of success that are more important to me. Showing up to my work everyday is success.

Adam Brouilette successful Ohio Artist that I love.

There are thousands of artists in this country that most of us have never heard of that support themselves with their work, they are successful regardless of the fact that no one has written about them in Variety or maybe they have never even been to New York.

Studio Painting by Andrew Lenaghan

To me success is a sticky word. And I prefer to stay unstuck. My life philosophy is imagine what you want to wake up and do everyday.  If you do that thing, even if for just an hour, than you are living a successful life. Even if you do not have the money to buy a Gucci bag.

So I say screw the myth and just make your art.

Until next time keep your needle threaded!

Joetta Maue is a full time artist primarily using photography and fibers. Her most recent work is a series of embroideries and images exploring intimacy. Joetta exhibits her work throughout the United States and internationally, and authors the art and craft blog Little Yellowbird as well as regularly contributes to Mr. X Stitch. Joetta lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, baby son, two cats, a goldfish.

from here.

a few DIY turkey options to inspire you today.

from here.

from here

and here.

here.

and here.

take the time to hug your loved ones, have gratitude for your meal, and take a moment to feel deep thanks for all your blessings.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.  ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

 

Until next time keep your needle threaded!

Joetta Maue is a full time artist primarily using photography and fibers. Her most recent work is a series of embroideries and images exploring intimacy. Joetta exhibits her work throughout the United States and internationally, and authors the art and craft blog Little Yellowbird as well as regularly contributes to Mr. X Stitch. Joetta lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, baby son, two cats, a goldfish.

Today in the Thread Reviews, I am reviewing the fabulous new book Indie Craft edited by Jo Waterhouse.

The American cover featuring work by Jenny Hart.

As one of the featured artists, I will admit this is a bit self promotion and a bit review as I am honored and excited to be a part of this little book.   In compiling this book Jo wanted to create a book that celebrated the subversive and unexpected creations that are being done in the craft medium as well as feature some fine artists that are using the craft medium to create high-end works of art which push the boundaries of the craft further.  I was delighted to be selected amongst a handful of other artists to represent the artistic movement of using craft as medium.

one of my pages.

I admit that it is difficult to merge the debate of art vs. craft and I myself do not consider myself a crafter at all, initially I was concerned about how this book would manage the discrepancy in that Jo feature’s crafters making plushies right along side artists that create large scale gallery works. In essence Jo deals with it by simply not giving it credence, she acknowledges the difference in some of the artists and makers she has chosen to feature and leaves it at that.

work by the artist known as Severija, who cross stitches in metal.

She states:

The ‘art vs. craft’ debate is old and multi-faceted. I prefer to leave that discussion up to the individual. Art by its nature is wholly subjective and I believe that all of the pieces in the book can be viewed as art or craft, or both. The decision should be determined in part by the intention of the creator, and is partly up to the viewer and how they naturally respond to and interpret it.

Through the book I was reminded of a few old favorites and introduced to some new work that I really enjoy. Such as the incredibly lovely work of Marloes Dukyer, above, whom combines hand and machine stitched work to create very seductive and textural work. Plus it is cool to know that she is building a career out of this work by working on commissions from magazines, books, and design houses for them to use on covers, ads, and such.

I also found the stump work of Jacinta Lodge, above, really intriguing. I myself have never attempted stump work and it totally intimidates me but also seems like a wonderful and inspiring technique.

One of my favorite surprises in the book was from the knit the city, the british version of knitta, their Oranges and Lemons Odyssey is so cheerful and clever. I would love to come across a vine of knitted lemons in my neighborhood.

one of the token men represented, embroiderer William Schaff.

The intro was written by crafter and maker of Handmade Nation, Faith Levine, and after reading her brief intro I reconsidered my somewhat strong critique of her film. The impression I got from her intro is that she simply enjoys and celebrates the “hand-made” movement and her film was about that celebration.  The academic artist in me wants everything to have so much meaning and concept behind it that the film left me wanting more, a lot more. But now I recognize her goals in the film were just very different then what mine would be if I made a film about the movement of handmade in our world, personally I am very interested in the psychology behind it and the depth it affects us and would love to see that explored.

Being me, I was of course most drawn to the “artists” in the book over the “makers” what ever all that means, but a few of the more craft based artists that I really enjoyed were the dolls of Eva Monleon.  Eva’s dolls are crafted from found vintage materials and have a ton of charm and whimsy.

And then I got reminded of the fabulous creations of Sarah Neuburger. I especially love her custom-made clothespin wedding toppers. She takes images of the bride and groom, or groom and groom, or bride and bride to make wonderfully unique and special toppers. I have always wanted to re-new my vows with C on our 10th wedding anniversary, which is not all that far away, and I am FOR SURE going to get these little figures for our cake.

All of the above artists are worth checking out more and the book is full of plenty of incredibly delightful work and discoveries and one of the best parts about the book is that it is SUPER affordable. Jo wanted the book to be a book for everyone not just a large coffee table book but a book we all could enjoy and be inspired by so pick yours up today.

Until next time keep your needle threaded!

Joetta Maue is a full time artist primarily using photography and fibers. Her most recent work is a series of embroideries and images exploring intimacy. Joetta exhibits her work throughout the United States and internationally, and authors the art and craft blog Little Yellowbird as well as regularly contributes to Mr. X Stitch. Joetta lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, baby son, two cats, a goldfish.

You have a mere 2 days left to make it to the Fiber Art International exhibit in Pittsburgh.  Sadly, I did not make it to the exhibit as I was overdue in having my baby the weekend of the opening and have since been dealing with an insane summer and a new babe in my life. So I am sad that I cannot truly review this show.

Dorie Millerson

But in receiving my catalogue in the mail I was beyond delighted and so excited to see my work amongst such talented and extremely relevent fiber artists. There where plenty of familiar faces such as Dorie Millerson’s awesome crochet works and Tilleke Schwartz’s embroideries. But I was most excited by the fact that most of the work and artist’s were new to me and looked forward to researching their work further.

Erin Endicott

Of course, the incredibly beautiful Healing Sutras piece by Erin Endicott  got tons of exposure in the press and reviews as she took home the Best in show prize.  But my favorite works tended be a bit under the radar.

I love the narrative and emotional charge of Caroline Kirton’s embroidery and applique pieces that explore the time of life that her teenage daughters are in.

But perhaps my favorite work was by Ayelet Lindenstrauss Larsen.  Her work titled Embroidered Scribbles on a Page in My Notebook simply took non-sensical language &  formulas and “doodles” that might be found in a chemistry majors notebook and recreated it through stitch.  Something about the simplicity, the color, and the ambiguous nature of the text just grabbed my senses and pulled me in. I was beyond disappointed when I was not able to find any other images of Ayelet’s work online as I WANT to see more but apparently she is busy teaching mathematics to college students.

Katherine Webb

Without seeing the actual show I feel like I still got a good sense of the overall exhibit and was impressed with how well it was curated in being able to include such diverse work but also feeling quite cohesive. It seemed there was a overwhwelming amount of incredible embroidery work and quite shortage of sculptural or 3 dimensional work.  So it may simply be that these are the trends of current fiber work but I know of so much exciting work being done by men and sculptors that I hope this show  gets on their radar so that next time they can add to the diversity of the exhibit.

Claire Taylor

A few trends that I saw in the show was the number of artists that were creating narratives & political work through their fiber practices.

You can see a substantial review int he current issue of Fiberarts magazine and Embroidery .

You can also see all the work in the exhibit here and order the awesome catalogue.

Until next time keep your needle threaded!

Joetta Maue is a full time artist primarily using photography and fibers. Her most recent work is a series of embroideries and images exploring intimacy. Joetta exhibits her work throughout the United States and internationally, and authors the art and craft blog Little Yellowbird as well as regularly contributes to Mr. X Stitch. Joetta lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, baby son, two cats, a goldfish.

Why curate?

Over the past few years I have been in quite a few group shows and about a year ago after walking through a disappointing season in Chelsea and attending a number of disorganized exhibits I decided to begin curating myself.  My opinion is that fiber exhibitions can be just as exciting, well hung, relevant, and cohesive as the best group exhibits out there- but I just was not finding enough shows that were.

Image from Brooklyn exhibit Connective Thread, with works by Sarah Bahr, Stacy Renee Morrison & Simone Meltesen.

I feel like as fiber artists if we want our work to be seen as just as valuable and as important as more “accepted” fine art mediums we have to showcase the work with just as much care and integrity.  Too frequently I see fiber exhibits that have TONS of work on the walls that are  hung somewhat haphazard making no relationship from one piece to the next except they are fiber.  Painting shows are never just hung without creating relationships- the fact that they are painted is not enough reason to hang them together so why should it be that way for fiber. Fiber work can need just as much breathing room and make just as much of a compelling statement if not more.

Kimberly Hennessy & Jen Prather

In the contemporary art world it has become not just about the individual pieces but about the statement and voice of the curator and the voice of the art world as a community.

Installation view of Kiki Smith: A Gathering, 1980-2005 (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, November 16, 2006–February 11, 2007). Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins

I was blown away when I saw the solo exhibit of Kiki Smith at the Whitney a few years back and that is when I realized what a good curator can do for the art.  Kiki is a VERY prolific artist and works with tons of mediums and has an archive of work that dates back to 30 years ago.  But the curator’s laid out the work in such a thoughtful  way that you could truly experience how Kiki has developed as an artist both technically and emotionally while increasing the personal experience of the viewer as they walked through. It was more creatively done then just laying out the show by date and ended up evoking an incredible respect and appreciation for Kiki’s work.  In seeing this exhibition so well done I thought “why aren’t more curators doing this?” and ” Why can’t small spaces have just as well designed and put together shows as a museum?”

Image from the Stitch Spectacular opening.

Then I applied to be in the show Stitch Spectacular curated by Rubi McGrory and  Karin Soderholm .  2 artist’s taking the reins into their own hands and putting together a fiber show the way they wanted to see it done. I was so inspired by their professionalism in curating the exhibit and realized I could do that here in NY.

Image during the performance of Marcy Chevali at from the tongue…

Since then I have curated 3 highly succesful fiber exhibits and am so excited to have been invited to curate the first exhibit at the Textile Arts Center.  I have found curating to be just as creative and fulfilling to me, as an artist & creative person, as my own work because the exhibitions that I curate reflect me as much as they do the work in it.  And this is why I continue to do it.

work at from the tongue… by Mary Coss and Jee Hwang.

People are often surprised that I do not even look at the submitted work until  ALL the submissions are in.  My style as a curator is to create a connection from work to work to work.  The connection may vary from emotional, to thematic, to aesthetic but it connects, at least I hope.  So I can never know what form that connection will take until I have all the images in front of me and I start making them.  It’s kind of like the coolest puzzle ever.  Personally, I feel like someone else’s work can make you see another artists work in a more profound or new way.  For instance if you see a Tracy Emin quilt work hanging next to a traditional quilt by a folk artist or by a Ghada Amer embroidery the context and experience changes completely. Perhaps both work but they creat a very different relationship.

quilt by Tracey Emin.

I hope that as I curate I select work that speaks both individually and collectively. I am still new at this and learning as I go but am happy to be exposed to and trusted with so much amazing fiber work.  By far the best part of curating is getting to meet and work with so many amazing people and I never run out of artists that make me want to curate again.

Submit your work to the premier exhibit of the Textile Arts Center. Deadline is August 20th so get your submissions in. Details here.

You can see my curatorial blog and images from my 2 most recent shows here.

Until next time keep your needle threaded!

Joetta Maue is a full time artist primarily using photography and fibers. Her most recent work is a series of embroideries and images exploring intimacy. Joetta exhibits her work throughout the United States and internationally, and authors the art and craft blog Little Yellowbird as well as regularly contributes to Mr. X Stitch. Joetta lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, baby son, two cats, a goldfish.

Hello stitching, weaving, and creating friends!

Welcome to the new bi-monthly post,  Thread Reviews,  by me, Joetta Maue.  I am excited to join the awesome and amazing team at the Textile Arts Center in spreading the love and passion for all things fiber.  Thread Reviews will focus on bringing artist, books, and exhibits about fiber to your attention all surrounded by my opinions and experience of them.

new cover.

When deciding what to focus on for my posts for the Textile Arts Center Blog I was inspired to do Thread Reviews mainly by my desire to write a post about the book The Subversive Stitch by Rozsika Parker. The Sub Stich was originally published in 1984 and has been re-published a few times over the years but it has been a long time coming  and has been a book impossible to find and when found premium money was needed to purchase. So when I found out that the book was being republished with a new introduction I was beyond excited.  I first found out about The Sub Stitch when reading a friends thesis and she quoted from  it – I immediately was like what? I NEED to read this book, but it was nowhere to be found.  So know it is found and being thumbed by my needle calloused hands.

original cover.

In The Subversive Stitch Rozsika writes about the relationship between women and embroidery in the context of history, feminism, and art.

I have to be honest, I literally just started the  book – I am only on page 3 of the original book and have read the introduction- but in short it is amazing.  As an artist working in embroidery who had to write a thesis about why I was doing what I was doing and why it was relevent and then defend this work and thesis, I am ecstatic to find an intellectual book about this subject that delves into the contradictory and complicated relationship that women have to embroidery and how this affects us in our making and not making.  I have been disappointed by most books that say they do this as they have not been written intellectually and are more fluff and amusement, which has its place. But The Sub Stitch seems to me to be a theoretically and critically well written book about the women andher needle.

work by Louise Bourgeois.

So just to give you a taste and encourage you to go out and buy this book, read it, and then meet me over a cup of coffee to discuss.

The forward begins with this amazing quote by Olive Schreiner:

Has the pen or pencil dipped so deep in the blood of the human race as the needle?

In Rozsika and my opinions- NO.  And that is why it is so exciting, complicated, and inspiring to look at the history of the needle and the thread.

Quilt by Tracey Emin.

In the Introduction Rozsika brings her thoughts up to speed in the fact that things have changed a lot since 1984, artists have changed how fiber work is being done and what it’s role is.  She specifically mentions Louise Bourgeois’ recent works in fiber and the seminal work of Tracy Emin.  She also talks quite a bit about how the attitude towards feminism and femininity has changed which has affected our, women’s, relationship to embroidery and cloth.  I will not go on and on but just to encourage you and inspire you I will end with a few selected quotes from the book.

Roszika quotes the artists Kate Walker as she discussed her “Wife is a Four Letter Word’ Sampler. Kate states:

I have never worried that embroidery’s association with femininity, sweetness, passivity, and obedience may subvert my work’s feminist intentions. Femininity and sweetness are part of women’s strengths… Quiet Strength need not be mistaken for useless vulnerability.

Later Roszika discusses the role and power of the creative object and in this she says:

The process of creativity -the finding of form for thought- have a transformative impact on the sense of self.  The embroider holds in her hands a coherent object which exists both outside in the world and inside her head… Embroidery promotes and reflects a richer, more meaningful internal world, which is in turn substantiated by the reception of the work in the outside world.

All I can say is my mind is being blown,  I am underlining like crazy, and am just really excited to be being forced to think hard about the choices I make as an embroider and why I make them. I am not promising that this subject will not re-appear in these blog pages. But for now I am back to stitching and reading.

Until next time keep your needle threaded!

Joetta Maue is a full time artist primarily using photography and fibers. Her most recent work is a series of embroideries and images exploring intimacy. Joetta exhibits her work throughout the United States and internationally, and authors the art and craft blog Little Yellowbird as well as regularly contributes to Mr. X Stitch. Joetta lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, baby son, two cats, a goldfish.

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