We are delighted to be hosting 'ThreadBare' by Imogen Morris at Digbeth Art Space between Saturday 14th September until Tuesday 8th October'. We caught up with Imogen ahead of the exhibition for some background....
Imogen graduated from Kingston University in 2013 with a first-class degree in Fine Art and Art History. After taking a break from making art and pursuing her other interests of working with young people, Imogen created a style of stitch-work that would become her trademark style of embroidery in this exhibition. Over the years Imogen has continued to develop this style and has exhibited her embroidery work in group shows around Birmingham, however this will be her first solo, and most ambitious, show to date.
Imogen uses the triangle to create polygonal forms in hand-stitched embroidery. The angular and jagged forms can appear harsh; and this strong aesthetic contrasts with the delicacy of the thread itself. Imogen works exclusively in thread – the medium of embroidery itself is steeped in the history of craft and can be perceived as something amateurish, because of this it has struggled to find a space of its own within the fine art world. Imogen's style of embroidery attempts to modernize embroidery and pull embroidery away from its traditional connotations of something created in the domestic realm or as a hobby.
By creating an exhibition that celebrates women in the medium of embroidery, a medium that is typically considered as ‘women's' work,’ Imogen is subverting the traditional perception of embroidery and elevating it into a contemporary fine art sphere. The clash of the traditional embroidery thread with a contemporary style of stitching is an exciting way of working I want to continue pursuing.
The exhibition consists of various hand-stitched embroidery portraits, aiming to highlight the contrast of strength and fragility in women, exploring subjects such as, friendship, motherhood, bravery and independence. The portraits include everyday citizens of Birmingham, who have a personal relationship with the artist, and a few female icons to show that regardless of financial gain, success, or background, as women, we continue to face the same challenges.
The work literally depicts the threads of a woman’s life – an individual piece of thread is, in itself, vulnerable and lacks strength. Thread is stronger when connected with other thread. This threadwork demonstrates the vulnerability of an individual, but also the strength of people when connected, providing an insight into human vulnerability, but also human solidarity and power when being part of a community.
The phrase and title of the exhibition, ‘ThreadBare’, indicates the idea of strength building over time, depicting a resilience in women and their relationships as they grow and solidify. Long-term female friendships face many adversities; they may be weathered from years of challenges, but are strong and withstanding!