VESTIGES: NEW WORK BY CINDY STEILER AND AMBER JEAN YOUNG
DECEMBER 10 – JANUARY 11, 2015
OPENING RECEPTION SATURDAY, DECEMBER 13, 7-10 PM
Campfire Gallery is pleased to present VESTIGES featuring new work by Cindy Steiler and Amber Jean Young. Steiler and Young share an interest both in subject matter and materials that reference the past and the value we place on examining them in the context of our current lives.
By combining photographic images with traditional textile arts, remnants of the past are reconstructed into a new narrative. Through this process there is recognition, not only of what is remembered, but also of what is forgotten. This allows the artists to build upon history rather than simply restore the past, recreating it in their own current interpretation. Choosing materials and techniques that have been handed down over many generations—embroidery, quilting, antique linens—reinforces both the passage of time and the potential to carry forward shared experiences.
Saudade I, 2014, photo on canvas painted with acrylic and embroidered with silk/stainless steel thread, hand dyed antique linen, 16 x 21 inches
I draw with thread. It is a slow and meditative way to express myself. It is very tactile. Embroidery has a long history, and placing myself into that continuum gives me a feeling of comfort. Making art gives me a voice to communicate thoughts I can’t put into words: the complexity of love and relationships, death and dying, disappearing. It allows me to tell my story.
Saudade is a Portuguese word that is used to describe an intense longing and deep melancholy that accompanies the absence of a person or time and place that is loved and irretrievably lost. I learned this word during a residency in Portugal, and it encompasses a kind of beauty as well as the sadness and ache of loss. The work in the series Saudade uses painted and embroidered photos on canvas, framed in hand-dyed fabric sourced from antique French bed sheets, to try and reflect some of the nuance and complexity of the feelings the word Saudade describes.
The series Forgotten is a collection of 19th Century cabinet card photographs of unidentified female subjects. Their bodies and clothing have been hand-embroidered using threads made from both natural fibers and metal. This series celebrates these forgotten women, hopefully breathing new life into their photos so they can once again be appreciated.
Cindy Steiler is a mixed-media textile artist and alternative-process photographer living in Gainesville, Florida with her loving family and pack of hilarious little dogs. She studied set and costume design at Colorado State University and spent years working in theater before bringing the practical skills she learned there to her concentration on art. Steiler’s work shows in galleries across the US and in Europe. Traveling and drinking bourbon with friends old and new are her favorite pastimes.
AMBER JEAN YOUNG
Shift and It Broke Away, 2014, 43 x 41 inches, quilt: linen, muslin, thread, batting
“Not from nothing…Worldmaking starts from worlds already on hand: the making is a remaking.”
Nelson Goodman (Ways of Worldmaking, 1978)
Amber Jean Young’s recent work explores place and memory through the combination of photography and quilting. Her interest in quilting is influenced by the practice’s long history as craft and “women’s work” that has often been relegated to the home. Young’s work uses this association of quilting with a home environment to further expand on her subject matter.
Inspired by the landscape of her childhood home, Young prints photographs of her rural Northern California homeland onto fabric. She plays with color, contrast, and aspect ratio in the printing process to create varied versions of the same scene. The printed fabric is then cut apart into a myriad of shapes and the scenery is disassembled.
Young integrates these strips of fabric into her linen quilts, visually restructuring her memory of the landscape as montages and collages. Her choice of linen as the base material for her quilts, as well as her practice of quilting, provides a direct reference to the home and associated past times. However, she takes it a step further by also incorporating fragmented and distorted compositions of her actual childhood residence. Thus she provides a visual account of how memory and association work…how it can vary and become fragmented with time but how the sense of place and the familiarity of what she knows and remembers feels tangible and present.
Through “remaking” she emphasizes the void as much as the inclusions, creating ghostly, contemplative, folkloric, and abstract compositions. This practice is a meditation on the incomplete nature of her personal memories. Each piece is both a homecoming and a departure, possessing a slippage from the real. The process of dismantling a familiar and dear place provides her the opportunity to build new worlds unbridled by reality. The resulting landscape is recognizable but fantastical, familiar but garbled. By traversing recollections of place and personal history, Young contemplates her memory’s inclination to forget.
Amber Jean Young, a Northern California native, utilizes landscape imagery of her childhood home to address place and memory in her quilting practice. Amber Jean graduated from Kenyon College with a Bachelor of Arts degree, in 2006. Upon graduation she returned to California and took up residence in San Francisco. She graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute’s Post Baccalaureate program in 2008 and the Master of Fine Art program in 2010. She has exhibited throughout the Bay Area and nationally including Michael Rosenthal Gallery, Ever Gold Gallery, Robert Berman Gallery, and ArtPadSF. She performed Working at Mauve Office of Exhibition in Berkeley, California, in 2011 and opened her solo exhibitions Letters Home at Michael Rosenthal Gallery in June of 2012, and There’s A Shape In These Hills I Know at Subliminal Projects in October 2014. She was an Artist In Residence at Djerassi Resident Artist Program in August of 2012, and was nominated for a SECA Award in 2012.