When you think of embroidery, you might picture quaint tea towels, stitched with inspirational quotes, surrounded by bouquets of flowers, or a cherished baby blanket, lovingly sewn by a doting grandmother. However, “Poetic Embroidery,” the current show at Central’s Melton Gallery hopes to challenge that notion, showcasing what embroidery means in an entirely different light.
“Poetic Embroidery” displays two large-scale installations, each representing an unconventional approach to textiles. The use of unique materials within each work emphasizes the careful, meditative process of the creation.
The first featured work, “Red Dirt Rug,” by artist Rena Detrixhe, is a decorative rug unlike any other. Formed from refined red soil, gathered in Oklahoma, the rug is constructed by carefully layering and smoothing the earth. Detrixhe embellishes the rug with stamps created from the soles of shoes.
The exhibit brings Detrixhe’s work together in conversation with Kelly Rogers’ piece “Tales of Woah,” a hanging tapestry covered with embroidered renderings of Oklahoma girls. One-third of these figures bear a pink mark of ink, in homage to the one-in-three girls in Oklahoma County who suffer sexual abuse by the age of 18.
“These installations occupy their space profoundly and intently,” said Kyle Cohlmia, curator of exhibitions at the Melton Gallery. “Kelly’s tapestry highlights small portraits of young girls that collectively hang in a limitless space, exposing the back of the canvas, messy veins to a detailed and rendered exterior, while Rena’s rug, created by red dirt found from the Oklahoma landscape, patterned into a piece that we typically see in our interior homes, conveys a conversation with each tiny piece of soil.”
Want to hear directly from artists Detrixhe and Rogers? Join them at an Artists’ Talk at 5:30 p.m. Sept 20 at the Melton Gallery. The talk will be followed by a Q&A with the audience.
Detrixhe is a Tulsa Artist Fellow whose solo exhibitions continue to be featured in museums across the nation, from the Philbrook Museum of Art and Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, to the Abigail Ogilvy Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts and the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design in Asheville, North Carolina.
Rogers is a UCO alumna and one of five Oklahoma artists chosen by the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition to be featured in the 2017 Art 365 exhibition.
“As humans, we constantly weave our personal memories together into an embellished and complete life,” Cohlmia said. “Through the use of thread and natural material, ‘Tales of Woah’ and ‘Red Dirt Rug’ apply the process of literal and metaphorical embroidery to create pieces that captivate, revere and conserve our collective stories.”
“Poetic Embroidery” will be displayed in the Melton Gallery through Sept. 27.
The Melton Gallery is free and open to the public 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays and on Fridays by appointment.
For more information about the Melton Gallery, visit www.meltongallery.com.