Harvest Gold Gallery is excited to present to you the work of local textile artist, Kimberly Crichton. Formerly from Portland, Crichton moved away from the rush and bustle of the city to set up a studio in Bridgton. Crichton is one of our first abstract artists in the Gallery, and it is engaging to view her modern designs set against a backdrop of traditional art. “I am a self-taught artist, and advocate, and a strategist who is drawn to the power of relationships, the written word, and art and craft as vital tools of social change,” Crichton says. “I am most interested in processes of transition and transformation.”
Crichton’s work is a long and slow process, most frequently undertaken as a meditative pastime during the slow winter months. The rice paper that is the base of each piece easily tears, so Crichton’s creative process forces her to slow down and work carefully and contemplatively. The rice paper is stamped with color on hand cut linoleum blocks, and then measured and marked in one-inch square increments. Each dot is made to represent a person as a solitary individual, and the thoughts and processes that that person feels when on their own.
The dots are then connected through a carefully hand-sewn web of threads. The threads, made of various different fibers, seek to emulate traditional painting styles and blend the threads into the print beneath them. For instance, the fluffy mohair thread spreads out over the paper and looks like bleeding ink: thus merging both thread and paper. The web symbolizes the relationships and connections linking people and communities, and explores how a person’s internal patterns and thoughts shift and warp when reaching out to interact with another person.
Crichton is not a formally trained artist: she has never attended an art school. However, she has taken several classes on traditional embroidery techniques. These techniques must be adapted to work on the medium of rice paper: many of the tight stitches and knots that can be worked on cloth will tear and crinkle the rice paper. However, that adaptation is what drives Crichton’s interest in art. Crichton desires to explore the relationships between men and women, past and present, traditional and modern craft. Crichton wants to use tools and methods that are traditionally feminine (such as embroidery) to mimic, critique, and challenge the large, abstract, and highly-praised work of 20th century male painters.
|Kimberly Crichton in front of her work "Sweetest of Bridges"|