Thanks to Katy O for telling me about Jennifer Boe. Jennifer is a painter from Kansas City who, for the past five years, has been creating embroidered masterpieces.
In her own words: “I am not in the habit of making visual one-liners. There is no need for me to make something which reaffirms only that which we already know. So, instead what you are seeing is a series of observations, some questions without good answers, and a little bit of me playing the devil’s-advocate all rolled into one image.”
“The imagery of my work comes from that with I know, the seeming campiness of the situation I find myself in as a young woman in a capitalist society. What is it that I need, what is necessary in my life, and what is it that I only want and why? In spite of feminism, the rugs still need to be vacuumed, the dishes washed and the groceries bought. But, will Electrosal really clean my dishes better than Always-Save? And, will the use of Murphy’s Oil Soap on my hard wood floors insure me a place in heaven? Cleanliness is akin to godliness. I am very conscious that, for better or for worse, I am a consumer and advertising firms are our modern day snake-oil salesmen.”
I’m loving these pieces. From a technical standpoint they are superb – the detail of the stitching can’t really be appreciated on pictures these small – Jennifer’s works are large; the Let Them Eat Cake piece above is 36 inches square.
But it’s the interplay between religious iconography and mid-century advertising that really pushes my buttons. I suppose the explosion of consumer culture in the post-war years must have been akin to a religious paradigm shift, and Jennifer’s work does a great job of expressing that feeling. I guess there’s more of an irony now, as we understand the true impact of this materialistic overdrive. Jennifer’s work doesn’t necessarily impart judgement on the situation, but merely presents a view of the matter for your consideration.
Jennifer’s latest show, “How to Cook a Wolf”, is at the Greenlease Gallery in Kansas City and runs til 12th December; to see more of her pieces, check out her web site. Where you will also get to meet her equally talented husband, Andy Maugh.
The Cutting & Stitching Edge is brought to you in association with PUSH: Stitchery, the must-have embroidered art book by Mr X Stitch !
The Kingpin of Contemporary Embroidery. Committed to changing the way the world thinks about needlecraft.