The Stitch Acquiesces To The Dream – The Embroidery of Michelle Kingdom

“Drawing with thread,” is one way LA-based artist Michelle Kingdom describes her intricately embroidered small-scale worlds – threaded dreams and inner voices that cause her needle to meander away from technical techniques in favor of following her vision.

“There is truth to these compressed moments; there’s fear, hope, and gut instincts. It’s more about those moments when you are lying in bed, looking up at the ceiling, thinking – not subconsciously – not moments you can’t remember or access. It’s the chatter that you can’t shut off or shut out… My work is about snagging these vignettes. What I’m not stitching is just as important as what I am.”

Her commitment to capture the imagery makes conventional stitches acquiesce to a more expressive turn. Each thread has a different intention than the colored stitch you see at first glance. Even the names of her pieces are well thought out, “It takes a couple of days sometimes.  I compile/collect quotes and passages from books, and verses for inspiration.  It has to feel right.”

The art-craft aesthetics of the traditional vs. modern values being assigned to embroidery is sometimes still debated with a look into the artists’ process.

Traditional embroiderers’ tend to flip the embroidery over and check out its bones – so to speak.  Michelle and I talked about that inclination to read a piece by checking the backside to see if the stitches are tidy. “Mine are often a war zone of stitches and knots. When it’s too tidy back there it often means I’ve lost something.”

Spontaneity in embroidery is an irregularity –if a ‘read’ is betrayed by the threads in the back of her pieces, then Kingdom’s organic arrival to the end of her journey is a fantastic maelstrom of threads exposing the depth and the complexity of their layered emotions.

The Embroidery of Michelle Kingdom_Tending Mislaid Burdens

Tending Mislaid Burdens

You can see Michelle’s work during the upcoming show “Stitched”, an exhibition focusing on artwork that makes use of embroidery and stitching techniques. The group show will be in two parts, the first opening Friday, March 24th and the second opening Friday, June 23rd at Paradigm Gallery + Studio.

Enjoy these great links to more information on Kingdom:

  • Two of her favorite inspirations? Henry Darger  & Darrel Morris – “Both made great works based on snippets of their childhood. Very dark imagery.”
  • bG Gallery published a book on works compiled from Kingdom’s latest show.

 [Website] [Instagram]

The Embroidery of Michelle Kingdom_Duties of Gossamer

Duties of Gossamer

The Embroidery of Michelle Kingdom

The Embroidery of Michelle Kingdom_Roots became Skeletons

Roots became Skeletons

The Embroidery of Michelle Kingdom_Headlong over Precipices

Headlong over Precipices

The Embroidery of Michelle Kingdom_The depths of the sea are the only water after all

The depths of the sea are the only water after all

 

Michelle Kingdom: Facebook, Instagram

All images via Michelle Kingdom.

Another Year, Another Armory Week In The Books

Another year, another Armory Week in the books. I missed last year and was heartbroken, so I was really looking forward to all the greatness I was going to see. And then it happened, The Armory Show disappointed me. How was that possible? So maybe disappointment is the wrong emotion to convey, perhaps underwhelmed is better. I had been looking forward to this for months, weeks and days and with its one less row and sparsity of art I was underwhelmed. Thankfully, Art on Paper, Volta and Scope all pulled up the rear and made my overall experience great!

Here are my Top 10 pieces in no particular order:

I had the pleasure of attending Art on Paper its first night as a VIP, because I roll with some awesome people (Hi, Paradigm Gallery+Studio) and Tatyana Fazlalizadeh’s artistry was the first capture by my trusty iPhone. She is called Olympia and was painted with Oil on canvas just last year.

My next selection found at the Armory Show focused on a common political theme I saw throughout the galleries. Mel Bochner’s “Eradicate” carried a thought I’m sure most considered in these past weeks and months.

I found a great deal of irony in my next piece, “Alternative Titles for Recent Exhibitions I’ve Seen”. Scott Reeder seemed to be picking at my brain in particular.

“Alternative Titles for Recent Exhibitions I’ve Seen”

I love it when I go to a show and the art reminds me of my childhood or just makes me giggle. Perfect example of this is Douglas Coupland’s “Towers”. A huge display of Legos, building structures and towers alike. Instantly I’m back in my younger brother’s room building some structure that architecturally will never work, but will take us hours to create.

The second display that made me giggle was an entire park of sorts by Yayoi Kusama named “Guidepost to the New World”. Who doesn’t like polka dots? You can’t help but smile and laugh when you discover this park in the middle of the Armory Show floor.

Nick Cave, Hustle Coat. Having recently moved to Atlanta makes me long for the strange variety of life displayed constantly in the streets of New York. Nick’s Hustle Coats, one in black the other in tan made me crave that variety of life even more.

Nick Cave Hustle Coat_Black Nick Cave Hustle Coat_Beige

I always find that I look, search even for my favorite artist and when I find them I’m so very excited. With that being said…Kehinde Kehinde Kehinde!! I cannot shout this man’s name enough. Ladies and Gentlemen, the greatness known as Kehinde Wiley. If by chance I get the opportunity to own one of his pieces of work, I would be jealous of myself. They are real, vibrant, elegant and simply magnificent.

And now I find myself at Scope. Honestly I had never been a fan of Scope, but this year before I could fully get within the many gallery walls I was snapping pics and genuinely skipping to the next wall of fine art. On this brutally cold Saturday afternoon, I am warmed by the eyes from this painting by Roberta Coni. The boldness of her stare and the softness of colors welcomed me.

Roberta Coni

And just like that I was not only smiling but dancing a bit too from reciting lyrical genius in my head. Mark Drew’s series of four paintings with Peanut characters and hip hop lyrics made me reminisce of simpler times.

Mark Drew_Peanuts

So I know I said that these were my Top 10 picks, but this series of painting genuinely blow my mind. No major complexity, no variety of color, just big black bold strokes of paint swirled around the canvas. I would put one in every room of my home and walk through it like my own personal gallery. James Austin Murray captivated me and believe me for a woman with several zillions of things running through my mind that is quite the feat.

James Austin Murray_Another Year, Another Amory Week In The Books James Austin Murray

Lastly on this International Woman’s Day I wanted to choose something that displayed not only our strength but also or vulnerability. No matter how hard you knock us down, women will always rise again. Kim Byung Kwan’s Ghost Backup #002 depicts Wonder Woman down at her very lowest, but she will always rise.

Kim Byung Kwan’s Ghost Backup #002 _Another Year, Another Amory Week In The Books

I can truly say that I enjoyed this weekend filled with art. Next year, let’s do it again!