21 October – 16 December 2017
Appropriating methods traditionally identified with ‘feminine’ pursuits – embroidery and needlework – New York-based artist Jessica Rankin’s work often takes the form of organdy ’embroidered paintings’. Having learned to sew as a child in Australia, Rankin returned to embroidery after graduating from art school in the USA. In its nature methodical and repetitive, needlework has the capacity to let the mind wander. Drawing on this, and combining text and images, her embroideries resemble mental maps (or ‘brainscapes’ as she often refers to them), working through recollections, impressions of places and immediate experiences.
Stone/Folding premiered a new series of embroideries and drawings inspired by one of the Parthenon Sculptures at the British Museum, believed to be of the Greek goddesses Aphrodite and her mother Dione. From this starting point, Rankin’s work expanded to explore a range of seemingly disparate, yet ultimately interwoven, subjects – from the complex relationships between mothers and daughters and the constellations in the night sky, to the British Empire, Brexit and the refugee crisis.
Echoing the importance of language in her practice, Rankin also invited the critically acclaimed writers and poets Amy Key, Sarah Howe and Brenda Shaughnessy to explore and connect with her work. Their poems formed part of the exhibition.
Jessica Rankin, She Oaks, First Poem, 2017. Courtesy the artist and White Cube
Stone/Folding was presented in association with White Cube. It was generously supported with funding from Arts Council England and the Friends of Rochdale Art Gallery.