Alright! I am actually getting to Part 2 when I said I would. Allow me a moment to be impressed with myself.
The next stop was the Museum of Contemporary Crafts. Because of the embroidery component to my Books & Needles project, I wanted to see the Darrel Morris embroideries. The mere fact that he is male and working within a traditionally female medium makes this work notable, but they are better than that and beyond that.
Darrel Morris grew up in Kentucky and learned crafts from his grandmother while listening to her tell stories. His embroideries reflect both the crafting and storytelling traditions without being overtly traditional themselves.
The embroideries on display are large works, 6 feet or larger. They read like line drawings. There is a kind of jumbled energy to Morris' work. Figures trample all over one another. The intricately stitched line wiggles and vibrates. The works manage to be funny and scary at the same time.
That is what I went to see, but it was walking into Mandy Greer's world that made my jaw drop when I saw it. That is not a typo. An installation commissioned by the Bellevue Arts Museum, Greer's “Dare alla luce” is a stroll through another dimension. I can't recall another installation that affected me so profoundly. I wanted to climb into it and stay there.
Translated from Italian, “dare alla luce” is an idiomatic expression for giving birth: “to give to
the light.” Drawing upon late Renaissance artist Jacopo Tintoretto’s painting The Origin of the
Milky Way for inspiration, Greer recounts her own version of the Roman myth in which the
milk of Juno’s breast rose to the sky to create the galaxy. Through countless small gestures
of her craft, Greer employs humble handicraft processes and materials, executing her work
through crochet, braiding, sewing and beading processes that use yarn, beads, shells, feathers
and more. Merging the mythical and the mundane, Greer collapses the language and
materials of the ordinary with the spectacular and the epic. The resulting work intertwines
objects and space, resulting in an exuberant, sensual and visceral installation.
I am just going to have to leave it as that.