The beauty is in the detail of Patricia Casey’s newest exhibition, Little Secrets, a collection of photographic montages printed onto hand-embroidered cotton fabric. The unique works are on show at the NG Art Gallery in Chippendale, Sydney, until March 22 as part of the Art Month Sydney program.
It takes Casey between 10 and 40 hours to hand-stitch each artwork, using glittering thread and coloured cotton to follow the contours of branches, leaf patterns and blossoms with tiny backstitches and French knots.
Casey says her work references the historical tradition of ‘memento mori’ in which a lock of human hair, embroidery, fabric, or ribbon are used to decorate the frame or surface area of a treasured photograph.
In a recent interview with Aesthetica magazine, the Sydney-based artist explained her interest in mixing photography with other art forms: "Combining embroidery and mixed media with photographic imagery seemed a natural marriage of mediums. I have always loved to draw and I consider my embroidery as a form of drawing on the photographic surface. Photography and digital imaging are mediums that do not traditionally allow direct contact with the 'artists' hand' and this combination allows me a more intimate relationship with my work, by providing a means of inserting self into the imagery."
Casey says Little Secrets is a progression of her interest in private spaces, memory and dreams. “We all have an inner core that we don't reveal, even to those we are most intimate with. Little secrets that we keep to ourselves. Mental landscapes inaccessible to others. This work is very much about being alone with yourself. Finding peace in the quiet. A time to process life.”
Winner of the 2006 Head On Photographic Portrait Prize, Patricia Casey has exhibited widely in Australia and around the world. She is currently exhibiting in a group show at Stephanie Hoppen Gallery in London and recently exhibited in the Summer Show at Black Eye Gallery in Darlinghurst.
Little Secrets is on at the NG Art Gallery, 3 Little Queen Street, Chippendale, until March 22.
The Reclusive Impulse, 2013. Photographic montage on cotton (38 x 48cm). Image by Patricia Casey.
A Visiting Stranger, 2013. Photographic montage on cotton (38 x 48cm). Image by Patricia Casey.
Little Secrets I, 2013. Photographic montage on cotton (64 x 90cm). Image by Patricia Casey.
The Illusionist, 2013. Photographic montage on cotton (38 x 48cm). Image by Patricia Casey.