Fiber

Vignette: Irene Mudd

“[These women were] exquisite butterflies trapped in an evil honey, toiling away their lives in an era, a century, that did not acknowledge them…they dreamed dreams that no one knew-- not even themselves, in any coherent fashion-- and saw visions no one could understand.”

-Alice Walker

 "Untitled" by Irene Mudd, hand knitting, embroidery. 20x17in, 2017, $375

"Untitled" by Irene Mudd, hand knitting, embroidery. 20x17in, 2017, $375

Textile artists often tap into the past contextually; many of the techniques used by such artists originate in family legacy. It is perhaps more unusual to see literary inspiration merged into that lineage. Irene Mudd uses an essay by Alice Walker to provide a conceptual basis for her current body of work. “In Search of Our Mother's Gardens”, discusses and laments the vastly untapped potential and creativity of generations of black American women.

“While Walker addresses black women specifically in her essay, I found her words to be quite universal,” explains Mudd, “resonating with me despite my privileged status as a white woman. I strongly connected her message to my own grandmother’s story—a woman of great intelligence, creativity, and ambition, who studied to be a biologist, but set aside this pursuit to become a housewife, until she died at the young age of 53. My grandmother's story is not unique, generations upon generations of women have followed this same path, being held back from becoming their fullest selves by the oppressive systems established in their worlds.”

 "Untitled (Edmonia Lewis)" by Irene Mudd, hand knitting, embroidery, 20x18in, 2017, $375

"Untitled (Edmonia Lewis)" by Irene Mudd, hand knitting, embroidery, 20x18in, 2017, $375

Mudd joins a legion of contemporary artists who find inherent meaning in these traditional techniques; a feminist sensibility excavated from the archetypal position of ‘homemaker’. Women created things for function, but the task enabled a form of expression that is culturally significant. “Each portrait is hand knitted, paying homage not only to the personal history knitting and craft have had in the lives of the women of my family, but also to women throughout history who were artists and makers, whose primary means of creating were restricted to “feminine” crafts such as knitting.”

“This work is the result of a process of reconciliation with these truths, and therefore, I want this series to act as a kind of memorial for the innumerable, often anonymous lives of women like mine and Walker’s mothers and grandmothers, whose gifts were lost on a society that did not value them.”

Mudd was just in Revelry Gallery’s tarot art exhibit, The Future is Unwritten, and also is included in Kaviar Forge & Gallery's show Artists in Our Midst, which runs through December 30, 2017.

Age: 22
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education:  BFA, Painting & Fiber, University of Louisville, 2017
Website: irenemuddart.com
Instagram: irenemudd

Scroll down here for more images

 "Untitled" by Irene Mudd, hand knitting, embroidery, 22x19in, 2017, $450

"Untitled" by Irene Mudd, hand knitting, embroidery, 22x19in, 2017, $450

 "Untitled" by Irene Mudd, hand knitting, 21x18in, 2016, $400

"Untitled" by Irene Mudd, hand knitting, 21x18in, 2016, $400

 "Untitled" by Irene Mudd, hand knitting, embroidery, 23x19in, 2016, $375

"Untitled" by Irene Mudd, hand knitting, embroidery, 23x19in, 2016, $375

 "Untitled" by Irene Mudd, hand knitting, embroidery, 21x19in, 2016, $375

"Untitled" by Irene Mudd, hand knitting, embroidery, 21x19in, 2016, $375


Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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