Marshall Thompson, Joy O. Ude
Brazos Gallery: Oct 18- Nov 2
Opening Reception: Thursday, Oct 18, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Artist Demo: Wednesday, Oct 24, 2 p.m.
Richland College presents Stitched: Subculture/Subtext featuring Marshall Thompson and Joy O. Ude, Oct. 18-Nov. 2, 2012, in the Brazos Gallery, Richland College. Curated by Anne Lawrence and Victoria DeCuir, Stitched examines the subversion of traditional handcraft techniques to express signifiers of subculture through image and text. The opening reception will be Thurs., Oct. 18, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Marshall Thompson first used counted cross-stitch to evoke the sentimental in Good/Bye, 2000, made for his final participation at the Good/Bad Art Collective space in Denton, Texas. Thompson, known for his use of technology, including circuit bending, combined with a devotion to details when fabricating his sculptures or wall pieces, found in cross-stitch a synthesis of his particular skills and interests. He uses specialized software to draft his cross-stitch patterns, reducing them to images much like those found in 8-bit gaming, then meticulously follows a rigid set of self-imposed standards for the technical execution. Thompson draws on the vocabulary and images of geek subculture, making references to classic comics, elementary school portraits, the Satanic music scare, and television sitcoms. The work is overtly humorous and deliberately sentimental in a way that both acknowledges and disguises the nostalgia and its accompanying sense of loss.
Thompson and others have subverted traditional needlepoint gender and imagery associations. Sometimes called “manbroidery,” there is an entire community online that shares images, tips, and inspiration on flickr, Facebook, and blogs, encouraging every man and woman to take up the needle and stitch their own favorite Sarah Silverman quote.
Joy O. Ude’s work includes embroidered and silkscreened panels that investigate the displacement, misplacement, misspelling, and dispelling of racially ambiguous language and which involve a merging of handcraft, mechanical, and digital techniques. In all of these works, Ude thinks about a sense of identity constructed through language – written as a profile status on Facebook and pieced together using embroidery floss on Nigerian wax fabric – and through a sense of place, which takes the form of written directions screen printed on stitched panels as part of the “Make Yourself at Home” project with fellow University of North Texas graduate student, Delaney Smith.
Ude is motivated by an interest in culturally constructed notions of race and how the language of race is used and misused by both the people whose Facebook status she trolls, but also by the artist, as she picks and chooses phrases and words from those statuses. These snippets are de-contextualized and then painstakingly embroidered on Nigerian wax fabric, loaded with references to the artist’s heritage. Ude explores an affected use of language in a casual and social setting that is mediated by a distance provided by that very context, that is, a faceless digital community where social mores and distinctions are more easily displaced and even perverted. In her work, Ude incorporates not just craft, but also reference to craft through mechanical and digital means, into a conceptually-driven practice that investigates notions of heritage and home, and reflects her understanding of a constructed identity through language and subtext.
Thompson was a member of Good/Bad Art Collective for four years; he received a double B.F.A. in sculpture and metalsmithing from University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. Notably, he was included in Come Forward: Emerging Art in Texas, at the Dallas Museum of Art and recently debuted his cross-stitch art in Seattle. Thompson works as a microchip layout designer at Texas Instruments. Ude received a BFA in fashion design and is a current MFA candidate at UNT. Currently, her work is included at CraftTexas 2012 at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. This summer, she was included in a group graduate student exhibition at Cohn Drennan Contemporary in Dallas.