The concept that rests at the core of my artistic practice is subjectivity. The complex question of identity is shaped by our experiences of sexuality, desire, the topography of home, and the cultural narratives of our national identities. Connections between gender and subjectivity inspired my first body of work, a series of hand embroidered handbags entitled Handing on History. These sculptural biographies of women artists engage questions concerning memory, the living preservation of women’s art history, and the resonance between an artist’s life and her work. This work subsequently led to an exploration of the ways memory and various acts of record keeping link the otherwise disparate disciplines of biography and portraiture and is reflected in Blue, an embroidered biography.
Contemplation of the materiality of craft and the tactile ways we create memory and identity has recently shifted my focus and inspired an ongoing series of hand embroidered ‘landscape autobiographies’ entitled This Is a Photograph of Me. The first work in that series, “At the Hundredth Meridian” (2013), illuminates the ways personal geographic memories craft identity. However, stories about landscapes are just as powerful as memories, and it became clear to me that I needed to consider the influence of aesthetic and cultural narratives about landscape on the relationship between an artist and her personal experiences of place. Consequently, Trapped, an ongoing series of embroidered animal pelts, examines the way cultural narratives about the Group of Seven’s depictions of the Canadian landscape, about ‘home,’ contour identity.