Arwen

In presenting this work I am hoping to show the way personal photographs of family and friends can be changed or adapted. I didn’t want to exhibit just photographs because I wanted to personalise and interpret the images in a way that popped out to me. I have also chosen not to include facial features as this makes the identity of the individuals a little bit more mysterious and unexpected. This also relates to my research of the Bayeux Tapestry, where I think the embroidered faces look a bit cartoonish and simplistic. A concept that runs through the work is family and friends, and the celebrations that we have during our lives, for example celebrating a birthday, going on a day out, buying something for a party, or making an occasion of something small and significant like 'Yellow Mini No Returns', where a photograph was taken as a family joke about spotting yellow minis since I was very small. I think an audience will be able to relate to the sort of activities represented, though some artworks may seem a bit more abstract and random because of the personal nature of the original photo.

 

I have used embroidery on digital drawings that have been ironed down using inkjet transfer paper, a technique that began with iPad drawings, and then by experimenting with embroidery thread I found I could decorate the work further using different threads and patters. The work is figurative, but there are also moments where the artwork becomes a bit more abstract and less realistic. I have mostly used linen to iron on the digital drawings, and these have been dyed with different colours. Why, because it was nice to try and match the colours of the background photograph, and see how close colour can go with the theme of the artwork. Most of the work is therefore very colourful, and the embroidery thread is also bright to give yet more colour. So an underlying theme could be how colour is important to us in our daily lives. I think I was also influenced by the winter lockdown, as we not allowed to meet friends or family, and the fun moments in the photographs were a way of reliving the happier times.

 

Owing to the lockdown, and not being able to exhibit the work in the school gallery, we had the option to exhibit virtually or exhibit at home. I thought a lot about this, but wanted to actually put the work up myself and see the work in real sizes, and not display it digitally. Therefore, I chose to exhibit the work at home, and here I cleared a room out that had a white wooden wall that had a texture which I felt contributed to the textures of the embroidery. My audience were my family members, and I thought how they may be able to interact with the work. The space I found suitable had a white background, although there was an option to use the side walls or go around a corner. I felt the work would present better on one wall, as the lines of the wood gave a natural fee to the two rows I choose to hang the work around. By having the work on two rows, I felt the audience could see one work above or below the other, and this related to the intimacy of the personal family photographs. It also allowed me to think about which colours to put together, as well as how the rectangular artworks would work with the square ones. As some artworks were smaller, for example 'Four Guys Standing', I was able to use it to make an upward sloping lower line, as well as make a visual relationship to the colour blue with it being next to 'Quarantina', which is also on a blue background. I hung the work so it could be viewed standing up, or looking down slightly, so from one position the audience can engage with two artworks at the same time. I also placed the pink artworks in the middle of the exhibition for balance.

Curatorial Rationale

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