Niki Johnson is a multi-media artist from Memphis. She has a remarkable body of work, but we’ll focus on the stitchy bits.
Her work “focuses on cultural icons and the disembodied power they carry when removed from their original sources. It is [her] intent to re-sensitise images and items that mass-production has nullified.”
These particular pieces, cross stitched portraits stitched onto bakeware, feature iconic individuals. The American Bake Off series includes Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama; their placement in flan dishes gives you a chance to consider these portraits without their usual associations and preconceptions.
These characters are as American as apple pie, the choice of context is clear. But when you have time to consider them purely at face value, some of their intrinsic magic evaporates. The power of illusion that creates myths and propels these individuals to fame is so strong and all pervasive, yet at the end of the day they are merely human beings with weaknesses and failings like the rest of us. Niki’s work gives you scope to consider this issue.
It’s a shame that the embroidered portion of Niki’s repertoire is as small as it is – I would love to show you more of her work. You must visit her website to see her other pieces – they are laced with wry humour and amazing creativity.
The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge is brought to you in association with PUSH: Stitchery, the contemporary embroidered art book curated by Jamie Chalmers. Featuring 30 textile-based artists from around the world, it’s a must have for needlework fans.