21 October – December 2017. Gallery Four. 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 image, her embroideries resemble mental maps (or ‘brainscapes’ as she often refers to them), working through recollections, impressions of places and immediate experience.
Stone/Folding premieres a new series of drawings and embroideries inspired by one of the Parthenon Sculptures at the British Museum, believed to be the Greek goddesses Aphrodite and her mother Dione. From this starting point, Rankin’s work expands to explore a range of seemingly disparate, yet 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 has also invited the critically acclaimed poets Amy Key, Sarah Howe and Brenda Shaughnessy to explore and connect with both her work and the same Parthenon Sculpture. Their words will form part of the exhibition display and also be performed at a special live event organised in conjunction with the Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival.