Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Sarah Greaves - Pulling the Threads. Exhibition Review.

The advertisements I saw for this exhibition really caught my eye. It fascinated me to see an exhibition of what mixed fine art installations with the traditional and detailed craft of embroidery. From 26th June - 3rd September, Sarah Greave has her debut solo show, 'Pulling the Threads', at Tameside Central Art Gallery, in Ashton Under Lyne.

Greaves describes herself as a mixed media artist who uses embroidery as graffiti on everyday objects such as doors, furniture, kitchen appliances and food. She explores identity, gender and personal thoughts about body image through the use of stereotyped objects and methods.

The image on the poster for the exhibition is her 'Carbs Toaster'. Two slices of bread with orange thread haphazardly stitched through the slices and 'Carbs' in green thread stitched into the side of the toaster in a feminine, swirling script. This work provokes the viewer to think about the many women who obsessively think about their food before eating it, if at all. The world we live in, according to Greaves, is body image orientated; perfection, celebrity role models and diets control women's thoughts in even the simplest tasks such as toasting a slice of bread.

'Carbs Toaster'

Another two food related images in the exhibition were of a banana and a square of chocolate. The banana had 'Good' stitched into it in brown thread and the chocolate had a red cross stitched across it. Fruit is of course a 'good' food when it comes to health, diets and consequently being slim and 'attractive' according to the society Greaves paints a picture of. And chocolate would be a bad food for those who want to diet and therefore a simple red cross shows that it shouldn't be eaten. Next to the images of the stitched food are the images showing the food once the thread and stitches have been pulled out. To me this demonstrates the rebellion against the labels society gives certain foods and that we should eat what foods we like, whether good for a diet or bad, free from pressure to only eat for body image.

A predominant feature of the exhibition was the selection of doors which had all been uniquely 'vandalised' with embroidered graffiti. The method of stitching and the use of such a feminine font are juxtaposed against the tools Greaves uses. Embroidery is a stereotypical female activity whereas the scale of the embroidery requires stereotypical male tools, such as drills.

All images from: http://sarahgreavesart.com/.

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