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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

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New Embroidery stiches together plastic bags

Lauren Flynn ’12’s new installation has transformed both Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center’s Smith Gallery and numerous plastic bags into an intricate work of art.

“New Embroideries” is simply composed of only three materials—thread, plastic bags and wire, but with a stunning result, partially because Flynn took the initiative to paint the walls of Smith Gallery vivid blue and red.

“I think the show is brilliant,” Joe Hiller ’12 said. “The vivid colors interact well with all the bags. Its great to see the plastic bags reset in a formal art space, they take on all these possibilities of interpretation.”

The show is comprised of seven individual bags standing alone and manipulated into organic forms and one impressive quilt-like installation of multiple plastic bags, patch-worked together, along the back wall.

“The quilt is the newest piece in the show and I see it giving rise to a transition to larger embroidered forms,” Flynn said.

This unconventional medium also raises questions about sustainability. Flynn invites interpretations about the social and political implications of re-situating the bags.

“For me, working with the bags as textiles is a way of reconciling myself to their existence and a small response to the problem of what to do with them,” Flynn said.

The embroidered thread weaves wandering lines into the plastic. Flynn played with the transparency of the bags revealing different aspects of the lines and also experiments with different ways of seaming them.

“I love working with plastic bags,” Flynn said. “It’s so seductive, because you can’t go back, once you make a hole its there.”

Indeed, Flynn was aimed to “map inner sensations” by working with the plastic and found that each bag held the memories of its manipulation.

Many of the embroidery threads are left long and fall in vertical lines offering a stark contrast to the abstract and voluminous bags.

“Its like the threads are drips of paint running down the wall,” Emily Stanfield ’12 said.
Flynn found inspiration in sashiko stitching, a japanese style of embroidery, as well as a project she worked on last semester which treated plastics bags as a medium for drawing as opposed to her current, more sculptural, work.

With “New Embroideries,” Flynn hopes to blur the line between craft and fine art by incorporating her background in knitting, crochet, embroidery and spinning, as well as the work she’s done in drawing and painting.

“Its great!” Ethan Kenvarg ’12 said. “It’s like you see a plastic bag and you think, ‘That is something ugly,’ and then you look more closely and you see something beautiful”.
Next time you’re in the JRC be sure to stop by “New Embroideries” to check out Flynn’s whimsical sculptures in an unconventional material.

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    Connect-A-StitchOct 7, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    I’d love to see a picture of it.