As part of Month of Photography, Tansey Contemporary is pleased to present a solo exhibition of photography-based embroidery by Fort Collins-based artist, Carol Shinn, April 20 thru May 27, 2019. The opening reception is Saturday, April 20, from 1:30 to 3:30 pm, Shinn will be in attendance and will give a brief talk about her work and her process.
This solo exhibition features recent work by Shinn that explores her two main subjects: the landscape and architectural artifacts. Rooted in close observation, her finely tuned works invite viewers to slow down and give even the minutest details of a scene mindful attention. Shinn captures momentary glimpses of the natural and man-made worlds, especially the confluence of the two, in her practice. She sees time and place as “complexities of interacting forces.” Her work manifests viewpoints and locations in flux, hinting at a larger, nuanced narrative beyond the work itself at once specific yet mysterious.
Shinn marries photography and embroidery to create her unique works. Shinn begins each piece with photography, spontaneous and fleeting, that she then digitally alters before transferring to fabric. She uses a standard sewing machine — without any computerization — to embroider each scene, altering the length and density of the stitches. Similar to pencil hatching, she layers colors of thread throughout the work, creating such density that none of the original image or fabric shows through. The slow process of embroidery adds the elements of time, contemplation, and examination to the original photograph, pushing the work more into the realm of memory and imagination as opposed to straight documentation.
Her intricately detailed works explore light, darkness, atmosphere, surface, and texture. From a moss-covered stone to crumbling stucco, Shinn’s acute attention to even the smallest particulars of a vignette bring out the life and character of each moment and lead both the artist and the viewer to a greater understanding. She says, “I have noticed brief moments when seeing, being, and making coalesce to some transcendent point, or I have become the thing I am stitching.” She hopes viewers of the exhibition leave more mindful of their surroundings and says, “The physical world with all its details is of all importance.”
Shinn holds a BFA from the University of Colorado Boulder and an MFA from Arizona State University. She taught across the United States for schools such as Arrowmont, Penland, Haystack, Arizona State University, and Mesa Community College. She authored Freestyle Machine Embroidery by Interweave Press. Numerous public and private collections hold her work including the Denver Art Museum, Racine Art Museum, American Express, University of New Mexico, and the Museum of Arts & Design. She has been featured in such publications as American Craft, Embroidery, Fiberarts, Georgia Review, and Surface Design. Her awards include accolades from Fiberart International and Surface Design Association Conference, among others.