Eye of the Needle

super-realistic thread painting

super-realistic thread painting

The other day I mentioned the Black Gold Tapestry exhibit at the Glenbow Museum. Today I’ll talk about the Eye of the Needle exhibit that I also visited while I was there.

The exhibit seems largely centred around local textile artists, but spans a wide ranges of time frames, cultures, and bounces between DIY projects with artistic or political statements to high-end couture and fast fashion. This wide range provided a wide scope – but also made the exhibit feel a bit disjointed and unfocused for me.

I would have been far happier to see a display focusing on just one area – in particular the really extraordinary thread painting (as seen above) or textile projects focused on a specific theme from artists who explore social or political themes with their needle work.

Queen Victoria's dress

Queen Victoria’s dress

There are a few items of clothing from the Glenbow’s 19th and 20th century clothing collection, the most stunning to my eye was a gown owned by Queen Victoria – a black silk taffeta with lace and beads and sequins which to me looked very modern. It’s only in the tiny details like the stitching on the pocket (which I tried to photograph but with the lighting and the black-on-black didn’t turn out) or the shape of the sequins that suggested it wasn’t a modern polyester taffeta with rayon lace and plastic sequins and beads.

Close up of Queen Victoria's dress details showing the lace, beading and sequins.

Close up of Queen Victoria’s dress details

I was also really impressed by the thread painting done by another artist – the rabbit at the top of this page is just one example.

After viewing the Black Gold Tapestry (which is actually embroidery) I was also happy to see a few tapestry woven art pieces, again by a local artist.

There were also a number of pieces that were artistic/political in nature, including an enormous piece which was on display at a cathedral in Quebec when it was first made. I tried taking a few photos… but only this one turned out with the lighting in the exhibit and my shaky phone hand.. LOL

The Eye of the Needle exhibit runs until May 13, 2018 if you’re interested in seeing it for yourself.


Subversive embroidery

Subversive embroidery

I also visited the Higher States: Lawren Harris and His American Contemporaries exhibit. I LOVE Lawren Harris, but in seeing his modern abstract work from later in his career… I realize that I have a strong preference for his nature-inspired work instead. That exhibit runs until January 7, 2018 if you’re interested in seeing it. Likewise, we viewed Jennifer Wanner’s Second Nature exhibit which runs until January 14, 2018. Unfortunately this exhibit just wasn’t to my taste at all.

Have you seen any of these exhibits at the Glenbow? What did you think?

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