MADAMI’MADAM Embroidered Samplers by Elaine Reichek
Elaine Reichek is an artist based in New York City. Much of the research underpinning MADAMI’MADAM was completed as a part of a residency that she undertook at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, in 2001.
MADAMI’MADAM is a group of sixteen hand-embroidered samplers referring to Genesis and the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. This is a common subject in art history and in the less well-known tradition of pictorial samplers. I borrowed images from both sources… For texts I quoted from a wide range of writers and works—the Bible, but also the works of Milton, Mary Shelley, Charles Darwin, Ray Bradbury, David Cronenberg, and so on.
I was thrilled to come across Elaine’s work as she makes use of the format of old pictorial embroidered samplers like I’ve been doing for my Unicorn Dating embroideries.
The series explores ideas surrounding religion, reproduction, life and death. Throughout this series the artist refers to the canons of art history and the traditions of embroidered samplers whilst interweaving references to popular contemporary culture such as in the Blade Runner sampler (below).
The use of references from both contemporary and historical contexts is of particular interest as is the way in which she has created a series which is weighted towards thematic rather than aesthetic considerations.
Elaine has produced a wide range of works, many of which make use of stitch and bear references to the traditions of the media. You can find more of her work at www.elainereichek.com