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  • Jennifer Whitten

A Time in Stitch: a solo exhibit of work by Jennifer Whitten

Artist talk 1pm Saturday, April 16, 2022 at Ginko Galley, Oberlin, OH.

A Time in Stitch

a solo exhibit of work by Jennifer Whitten

Ginko Gallery, April 2 through June 6, 2022

Artist Statement

My art practice expresses passion for materials and methods and for finding a balance between product and process. My artwork is about both the content of the piece and the way in which it is created. I create medial objects, objects that bridge between worlds. Intricate and repetitive processes, such as beading, stitching, binding, and embellishing, bring visual and haptic power to my work. I am inspired by expressions of other cultures that capture similar ideas, from the pointillism of Aboriginal paintings, the sequined surfaces of Haitian Voodoo flags, and the brilliance of Panamanian molas.

Works included in A Time in Stitch use the simple running stitch, sometimes called a kantha stitch or a chicken stitch, and the bead embroidery back stitch. These are the most basic and intuitive ways to use a threaded needle on cloth. The effect of these kind of simple embroidery stitches, when repeated close together, has a meditative effect on both the maker and the viewer. Intricate detail brings a visual power and presence to work that is of a relatively small scale and creates intimacy with the viewer.

My work is hand stitched and hand constructed, often by layering several pieces of cotton fabric to create in the format of art quilting. My tools are a needle, thread, fabric, beads, and sequins. At times hand drawn templates and stencils made of thin plastic allow motifs to be repeated through my body of work.

Snakes are used as content in my artwork and are personal symbols of transformation, creativity, and potential. Curvilinear form is endlessly fascinating, as it spirals, squiggles, and folds over on itself, creating an elegant calligraphy. Personal symbols, such as Narcan bottles, reference second chances and are joined with the cultural symbolism of specific sashiko stitches referencing immortality and longevity. Time itself exists as a quiet background theme in my work through the methods and materials used. Through the act of making, building up layers of stitch, the passage of time is marked.

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