Apr 01 - Jul 04, 2023 Douglas family art centre

In the Middle of the World

Judith E. Martin, MEDICINE EARTH, 2021, hand-stitched textile: linen, silk, cotton and wool, 186.7 x 185.4 cm

Penny Berens, WHISPERING CAIRN, 2019, hand-stitched textile: plant dyed cotton, linen, silk and wool, 88 x 124 cm

The naturally-dyed, slow-stitched textile works of Judith E. Martin and Penny Berens inspire ways of seeing, sensing and reflection that are simultaneously outwards, at our surroundings; and inwards, at the landscapes within us.

Martin and Berens render time visible and touch tangible through the hand-stitched marks that accrue, map-like, across the surfaces of layered fabrics, forming worlds within their works. Martin explores inner immensity, recording and reflecting upon the mutable nature of emotions, thoughts, and dreams. Berens looks outwards at and to nature, creating work informed by experiences with and within her everchanging environment. In the Middle of the World ushers audiences into the liminal space between earth and air, ground and sky, mind and body, knowing and sensing, static and shift. The earth provides material and metaphor; the world is Mother and muse, subject and symbol. It is central to the artists’ ways of seeing, making, and understanding.

Stirred by and searching for both meaning and feeling, the artists commune with and convey the gravity of vulnerability, bravery, and humility. These works of stitch, natural fibre and plant-based colour speak of the intimacy of human connection that many are seeking out and leaning into amidst these turbulent, socially-distanced and tech-driven times; of connections to tradition and the environment, and the urgency to renew them before it’s too late; and of the importance of knowing and accepting one’s location in the world.

This exhibition is curated by Miranda Bouchard.

Did you know?

Group of Seven member, Frank Johnston, visited Kenora and painted “Serenity, Lake of the Woods” in 1922, a shoreline view of Kenora with it’s distinctive smoke stacks from the pulp and paper mills.

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