Friday, June 24, 2011

Featured Artist: Leslie Sudock

During the seven weeks of '"Size Matters" we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog. Every week, several artists will be featured. Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Leslie Sudock

Know when..., Home is..., For Me...

  Artist Statement, March 2011

Needlework of one kind or another has been a part of my life since early childhood:  my grandmother taught me to crochet and sew on her treadle machine in the cellar, and a kind neighbor gave me my first pair of knitting needles to ease me through illness when my parents were away on holiday.  Since then, my hands have been perpetually engaged with making.  Indeed, the collection of afghans, quilts, sweaters and vests stacked in my closets and drawers map my journey through high school (with special permission from teachers and principal), university, graduate and law school; my life as a young mother was charted by caps, booties, mittens, scarves and cardigans. 

Know When...
Know When...(detail)

 I have always been fascinated by the fibers, techniques and structures of knitting:  Scandinavian stranded color work sweaters in 9th grade history class, intricate Aran pullovers in Philosophy seminars, and complex mohair lace vests in Constitutional Law lectures.  So I suppose it was natural enough when – after an extended foray into the three-dimensional world of sock and felted shoes – my work turned sculptural. 

Home is...

Home is...(detail)
  For the past few years my work has included sculptural knitting with wool, copper wire, and bamboo and encaustic wax.  These works usually addressed the nature and politics of religious identity, or more abstruse philosophical and theological inquiry.  However, persistent carpal tunnel inflammation has required that I put down my knitting needles for a time.  Never one to cease rolling, I’ve taken turned to weaving as part of my regular work with neighbors who are homeless, in recovery, or otherwise in transition; my involvement in the formation and continued work of Arts Street Textile Studio: handmade with the homeless in Philadelphia has enabled me to both re-think my work in fiber and address the pressing concerns of my new studio colleagues.

For Me...

For me...(detail)

“Home is …”, “For me …”, and “Know when …” are three of a series of woven and embroidered signs that respond to the art of sign-making carried out by the homeless.  These three signs honor the poetic expression of need of so many on the street, as well as the work of Arts Street Textile Studio (ASTS), whose trademark red house signals the need and desire for safe and secure shelter.   Each of these “cardboard signs” consists of hand-woven “cardboard” canvas and embroidered texts executed with materials donated to ASTS for its outreach work in the studio and local shelters and day programs.  The texts are taken from extant signs carried by the homeless, and they are mounted on the cardboard they are intended to honor.  May they prompt in all of us greater compassion for and action on behalf of our neighbors in need.

Selected Exhibitions:

2010    Arashi Vessel #1, irRESIST,  Some Things Looming, Reading, PA.  Kathryn Pannepacker - ccurator
    MateriĆ©l Witness, Text/Textiles, Some Things Looming, Reading, PA.  Kathryn Pannepacker - curator
2009    MateriĆ©l Witness, Text/Textiles, da Vinci Gallery (Philagrafika Festival), Philadelphia, PA.  Kathryn
Pannepacker – curator
    Kamia Lilit (Lillith Amulet), Seyag ha’Torah (Hedge of Roses), Wimpel:  Wrapped Wishes!, Philadelphia
Museum of Jewish Art, Philadelphia, PA.  Matthew Singer – curator

Leslie Sudock, Fibers

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