AH Arts, in conjunction with VICTORI + MO, is pleased to announce IMPERFECT MUSINGS, an exhibition of new work by New York-based Emily Barletta and Durham-based Meg Stein, curated by Alix Hornyan. Emily Barletta pushes her meticulous hand embroidery process in new directions, both in terms of scale and medium; subject and psychology, which is presented in conversation with two new series of ceramic and mixed media sculptures by Meg Stein. In distinctive but harmonious ways, both artists explore issues of the body, introspection and regeneration while presenting complex interpretations of feminine identity.
The restorative power of the needle provides a key point of perspective, dialogue, and insight for the work throughout the exhibition. In Barletta’s embroideries, the path of the thread is beautifully presented to us directly on the surface of the paper while the underside is often a bit messy, patchy and full of knots. She embraces this aspect of the work and appreciates the unique connection it provides the audience to understand her process. The meditative and unconscious is manifested in her artwork, in a similar spirit as that of the Insomnia Drawings by Louise Bourgeois. Barletta initially used the process of crocheting and embroidery to meditate while recovering from a series of painful surgeries related to a rare spinal disease she developed as a child.
A further layering, both literal and in meaning, is achieved in Stein’s sculptures where the Artist begins with highly recognizable everyday feminine objects, such as eye shadow applicators, make up sponges, nylon stockings, silk slips and others. She then groups, contorts and sews them together until their original identity is not easy to discern and an entirely new form emerges. Often fleshy and familiar, Stein’s biomorphic sculptures transform the materials beyond the ritualistic practice they were intended for. By doing so, she calls into question the absurdity of those intentions – to beautify, to purify, to embody fragility and delicacy, asking us to explore these materials. Therefore our connection to them may be reborn.
In addition to process and materiality, color is a key attribute defining the works in the exhibition with personal references and connotations for each artist. Red, with all of its tonal ranges, relates to the body. For Barletta, red specifically links to cells; their regenerative properties and the landscape of cell structures. Stein sees red, pink and white hues as inherently of a feminine aesthetic. An individual female body, woven and constructed, is represented in each work, and accordingly, the groupings of works symbolize the collective and communal nature of womanhood.
In Imperfect Musings, the works on paper, sculptures and installations of Emily Barletta and Meg Stein together create a state of reverie meant to contemplate the subtle marks, lyrical compositions, and perpetual renewal of personal experience.