Mary Smull: Manual Autonomy
Oct 29—Nov 16 2012
Anderson Hall 6th Floor Gallery
Curated by MFA in Book Arts/Printmaking candidates Sarah Hulsey '13 and Erin Paulson '13, "Manual Autonomy" presents two rule‐based needlepoint projects by Philadelphia artist and former UArts lecturer Mary Smull BFA '95 (Crafts). These works take needlepoint craft kits and deliberately subvert many of the original intentions of the kit, exploring the complicated relationship between hobbyist craft and fine art.
In the series "Conceptual Needlepoint," Smull accepts the constraints of a needlepoint kit's provided colors, but defies the kit's intentions by formulating her own rules for the application of the colors, thus turning a prescribed pattern into an exploration of autonomy. In "Finished Works," Smull beings with abandoned, partially finished needlepoint projects and then completes them — but using only white thread. These pieces preserve the structure of the original intention, but result in images full of hiatuses and encroaching blank fields.
In addition to her BFA in Fibers/Crafts from the University of the Arts, Smull holds an MFA in Fiber from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Her work has been exhibited recently at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft; Public Fiction, Los Angeles, Calif.; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Her project "SPUN: Society for the Prevention of Unfinished Needlepoint" was recently presented at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in conjunction with the exhibition "Craft Spoken Here."
Smull teaches in the Fiber department at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.
Opening Reception: November 1, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Gallery Talk: November 1, 6 p.m.
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