Welcome to the blog of Spike Dennis; an artist and sometime curator. Trained in London Spike has exhibited widely, from London to Los Angeles, and has delivered projects from Cardiff to Stockholm, for organisations including the Illustration Research network and Cardiff Design Festival amongst Others.
These embroidered plastic bags are from Nicoletta de la Brown’s El Barrio Bodega series of which she says:
Rescued from the gutter; blowing down the street like city tumbleweed. I reclaim and elevate what once was discarded by creating embellished art objects.
The combination of the time consuming heavily worked embroidery and the throw away nature of plastic carrier bags makes for a fascinating piece of work. Through skill and the dedication of time the everyday throw-away is promoted above its commonly held station and presented to us as an art object.
Stitch Fetish 2, at The Hive Gallery, will continue to explore the art of the stitch (a rite and fetish unto itself), revealing the fetishized secrets lurking in the minds of the artists. Works of erotica and titillation! Works of dark fantasy and longing. Works of secrets never told, but long desired.
The exhibition will feature work from my Unicorn Dating series of embroideries which are the culmination so far of my unicorn research, and the result of a personals advert placed on Craigslist.
Exhibition Dates: 8 February – 1 March 2014
Location: The Hive Gallery, 729 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90014, United States
Exhibiting artists include:
Bren Ahearn | Mark Bieraugel | Katharine Lawrie | Amy Goldsmith Sheridan | Meghan Willis | Tara Fields | Carol Powell | Ashford Harrison | Mo Powers | Judith Pudden | Robert Marbury | Pita Garcia | Matthew Monthei, | Erin M Riley | Shae Merrit | Kevin Muth aka Dirty Pillowz | David & Vesna Miller | Ken Amarit | Hine Mizushima | Luke Haynes | Billy Kheel | Oh Sew Nerdy | Rebeka Trigg | Spike Dennis | Maxine Shaw | Maggie Hunt | Iviva Olenick | Reavis Eitel | Leah Emery | Ellen Schinderman
I’m starting 2014 as I finished 2013, by exhibiting with Kalopsia in Edinburgh. This is the second iteration of their What Is Textiles? exhibition and this time the show will be held at Kalopsia’s new exhibition space in Ocean Terminal, Leith, Edinburgh. This time around the exhibition will feature my Baba Yaga embroidery.
Dates: 1 – 15 February 2014 Open Launch Party: Saturday 1 February, 7pm-9pm Opening hours: 2 – 15 February 10am-6pm Location: Ocean Terminal, Leith, Edinburgh
What Is Textiles? A show that sees Textiles as a distinct artistic practice, that opens up the debate on “What is Textiles?”.
What is Textiles to you? Is it the touch, the pattern, the movement, the sound, the smell, the process, the making, the feeling, the thinking, the colour, the history, the space, the touch…?
Kalopsia have sourced innovative and exciting work from different fields; work that explores the idea and pushes the boundaries of what Textiles can be – giving Textiles have a space in the contemporary art scene.
I’ve just published the first in a new series of embroidered artworks to my online portfolio at www.spikedennis.com.
The works, entitled Unicorn Dating, take the form of a series of hand embroidered subversive cross stitch samplers. The inspiration for the work originated through by research into the symbolic unicorn, and in particular the medieval tale which tells of how a unicorn can only be captured by a young virgin.
The design of these works draws inspiration from old European samplers as you might be able to tell from the image above. A number of the works have QR codes embroidered into them which provide links to content at www.unicorn-dating.com.
To view the works click here; but please bear in mind that there is a lot of graphic content and strong language contained within these works – you have been warned!
These embroidered photographic interventions are the work of artist Diane Meyer. By selecting a range of embroidery threads that match the colour palette in the photographs she has been able pixelate the images by hand using cross stitch.
The images in this particular series are all photographs of relics from the cold war in Berlin. By obscuring elements of the images the artist prevents them from being seen as snapshots of fixed points in time, instead opening up new possible histories within the images challenging “a futile attempt to make the fleeting memories of life permanent and ingrained“.
The soft thread used to obscure elements within the images provides a striking contrast against the stark concrete elements within the photographs. The stitches also transform the face of these photographs into tactile surfaces reinforcing the fact that these images exist in the present detached from the the distant memory that they might once have represented.
This is a sneak peak at a snippet of one of a new series of embroideries that I’m working on.
The content for the works was generated via the internet and with that in mind I have stitched QR codes (like that pictured above) into the works which link back through to additional online content. This will include videos, images and audio relating to the theme of this work.
I tried stitching the codes at 32 stitches per inch but from my initial tests I realised these were a little small to scan effectively so I’ve enlarged them slightly for the final works. Of course different barcode scanners seem to be better than others when it comes to scanning these cross stitched QR codes. Using my iPhone I’ve found that the Red Laser app seems to be one of the most effective scanners.
Keep an eye out early in the new year for images of a number of the embroideries from this new series.
Following their successful exhibition earlier this year Kalopsia seeks innovative and explorational contemporary textile work in any form. From performance to tangible physical materials or from edible stitch patterns to digital light installations. Kalopsia seeks to push the boundaries of what textiles can be and establishing it’s place firmly in the contemporary art scene.