London based Maurizio Anzeri makes his portraits by sewing directly into found vintage photographs. His embroidered patterns garnish the figures like elaborate costumes, but also suggest a psychological aura, as if revealing the person’s thoughts or feelings. The antique appearance of the photographs is often at odds with the sharp lines and silky shimmer of the threads. The combined media gives the effect of a dimension where history and future converge. Anzeri’s delicately stitched veil recasts the figure with an uncomfortable modesty, overlaying a past generation’s cross-cultural anxieties with an allusion to our own.
Lima, Peru based artist Ana Teresa Barboza creates landscapes and other imagery that exists in the space between tapestry and sculpture using embroidery, yarn, and wool. Emulating the flow of waves or grass, each piece breaks out of its embroidery hoop and tumbles down the wall upon which it is being displayed.
“Both embroidery and crocheting are techniques that require time. I use these techniques in order to make a connection between manual work and the processes of nature; creating thread structures similar to the structures that make a plant for example.” Ana Teresa Barboza
Particularly drawn to the home and its residents, Sewanee, Tennessee based Jessica Wohl exploits the uncanny while subverting domestic representations of perfection and happiness. She uses obsession, personification and gothic overtones to convey the idea that looks can be deceiving, and she interprets the family, the posed portrait and the suburban tract home as stages where this unsettling dynamic plays out.
Mana Morimoto creates out-of-this-world works of fiber art by embroidering colorful thread onto black and white photographs. Morimoto’s photograph embroidery exists in the “in between,” as her use of colorful fibers transforms vintage and often serious images into vibrant works of art.
According to the artist, she chose embroidery because she always found stitching and weaving therapeutic. She coupled this love for embroidery with a fondness for geometric shapes, resulting in an ever-growing collection of photographs hand-stitched with laser-like elements shooting out of people’s eyes and unnatural geometric objects integrated into various scenes.
Spanish artist David Catá uses his body as a canvas, writing an autobiographical diary. In his ongoing series ‘A Flor De Piel’, he embroiders portraits of people who have influenced or marked his life – family, friends, teachers, lovers, partners – sewn into the palm of his hand. Catá uses his body as a canvas for his project Overexposed Emotions which illustrates how much the members of his family, including his girlfriend, Tamara, are woven into his life.
Each eye-watering artwork takes about four hours to complete, after which David, a music student and artist, films himself picking the stitches out of his hands. Using a needle he very carefully pierces the top layer of his skin before drawing the thread through to create a stitch.
Julie Cockburn is an artist based in London. Her work is best defined by its delicate craftsmanship and by the transformation of every day and found objects into works of art. Cockburn’s pieces are elaborate, intriguing and beautifully executed, with an autonomy that makes one want to believe their existence.
Her photo-based collages embellish and distort vintage images using tools that range from embroidery to Photoshop. To begin each piece, Cockburn trolls junk shops and garage sales for old photos, often studio pictures from the middle of the last century. She scans them and uses the computer to plan what she wants to do. Then she transfers the digital sketches back onto the original, and proceeds to cut or sew or draw or paint. The results subvert the decorum of the tidy portraits and landscapes she chooses, making something strange and beautiful.
Take a look at the wonderfully strange mix of embroidery, x-rays, and MRI scans by Philadelphia-based artist Matthew Cox.
Medical x-rays and embroidery, couture and crime, rubber stamps, short -story prose and paint all layer toward a darkly comic and anachronistic impression of the human condition in the twenty-first century.