The Embroidered Image reviewed in Photograph Magazine

Multiple Exposures: Jewelry and Photography/The Embroidered Image
Museum of Arts and Design/Robert Mann Gallery, New York

The steady stream of images that comes our way electronically every day can make any single picture feel intangible, endlessly reproducible, and easy to dismiss. But two current exhibitions are emphasizing the materiality of the photograph—its object-ness and uniqueness. The Embroidered Image at Robert Mann Gallery through August 15 includes 10 artists who transform photographs using the humble domestic tools of needle and thread... Handiwork is the subject of The Embroidered Image as well, in terms of its decorative and its transformative properties. In a show that could have tilted toward the sentimental, curator Orly Cogan instead chose works that were pleasantly odd and humorously unsettling. The most successful images went beyond altering the surface of the image and engaged with the medium on a deeper level. The sneaky needlework in Diane Meyer's photographs of barren Berlin streetscapes, for example, mimicked photography's pixelization. Jane Waggoner Deschner quilted black and white photographs together in a contemporary twist on the domestic arts of the family photo album, quilts, and keepsakes, but her works include symbols or existential questions (What can I hope?). Orly Cogan's works involved pages from auction catalogues that she embellished with wry needlework doodles. A Babar-like embroidered elephant pops out of a window on a page documenting a Peter Beard elephant, for example. The Cat in the Hat and Lyle the Crocodile make appearances in other works — all pages from auctions catalogues, all featuring artworks by men (Saul Steinberg, Robert Indiana, Adam Fuss), complete with pricing information and provenance. Cogan playfully undercuts both the art market and the prevalence of the male artist in that market with her pointed play on traditional women's work.

—Jean Dykstra

Read the full article online here.