Identification is an ongoing body of work which focuses on the nature of ID object classification tables and object ID silhouettes.
I am currently working on a series of nine 6 x 6-inch canvasses of constructed tables of embroidered objects. These will be exhibited alongside the second body of work developed as part of Fictions, a two-person exhibition with the artist Isabel Young at the Blyth Art Gallery at Imperial College London, in June 2022.
The embroidered canvasses engage with the use of visual tropes and languages associated with ID silhouette classification tables initially created in my sketchbook. Classification tables pervade through visual recognition methodologies across fields as diverse as military, ordinance, engineering, aeronautics, science and fashion, reducing the three-dimensional complexity of an object, identity, or form to an external outline from one perspective. In the sketchbook, these very personal, remembered, invented and imagined silhouettes are created through a furious process of scribbling to achieve the familiar expected solidity of a silhouette based language. This frenetic scribble drew me to engage with thread in terms of quality of line and the shared traditions of sewn and stitched badges, insignia, and identification. The intention is to map out shapes and forms with thread. Embroidery brings materiality and craft with associations to repetitive labour and stitch’s ability to express original ideas personally, not unlike handwriting or mark-making akin to the initial filling in of the silhouettes first generated in the sketchbook.
I am intrigued by how the generic or shared nature of the silhouette based systemic languages transcends and crosses cultural paradigms and historical chronologies, an element of identity also shared by the language of stitch. Embroidered stitches are handed down from generation to generation, family to family, the repertoire being added to by travellers returning from foreign countries. They were invented by accident or intent, gradually becoming an international language, the same basic stitches found in many parts of the world and different countries.
Fabric is first stretched onto a frame, and an outline is stitched onto the canvas as a guide and parameter to work within. A range of threads, both in gauge and colour palette, are employed, and various experimental stitches replicate the quality and speed of the drawn lines. This deception and illusion in terms of an implied, not actual, immediacy speak to the complexity of abbreviation in the original language of Identification silhouettes from which the work initially responded and drew.