Friday, August 17

Must See: Uzbecki Embroidery

The Uzbecki embroidery ended up way down at the bottom of the post, but here is a link. "Uzbecki embroidery" sounds dull and obscure, but the bold colors and the simple-yet-sophisticated motifs just open your heart and make you grin. The exhibit is at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

I'm having one of those afternoons when I'm flooded with creative ideas for writing, work, and dozens of other projects. The only problem is that as new ideas come up, they replace the old ones, which I forget.

Last night I went to "A Mirror of Nature: Nordic Landscape Painting from 1860 to 1910," at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. (Some of the images are shown on the museum home page and there is a slide show on the exhibit page.) Some parts were wonderful, others looked like the kind of landscape you would buy at Sears and hang over your sofa. Now I know who all those painters-of-lame-paintings got their ideas from. (I'm hoping against hope that they weren't lame painters, just paying the rent.) The exhibit was arranged chronologically to show the changes over time as new ideas changed the painting scene again and again.Things got progressively looser and more emotional. Works for me.

As always, the art museum is a good place to people-watch and eavesdrop. I am completely tongue-tied when I talk about art, yet I get a chuckle out of all the high-flown sentiment flowing around me. Likewise, the explanatory notes for the paintings are very useful and help one get more out of the paintings, but occasionally someone gets carried away.

I found this last night: "the lack of figures and the tenebrous sky imbue the scene with an odd quiescence."

Exactly what I was thinking!

(Punchline from one of my favorite jokes: "Up in the hills where my people come from, we speak of little else.")

The museum is filled with lovely things and lovely people, but it is surrounded by a very tough neighborhood.The contrast was unsettling. Read Tim Wise for an exegesis of "white privilege."

All this leads up to the amazing Uzbecki embroidery. The embroidery is amazing mostly because it absolutely sings. You almost want to laugh out loud for joy. (OK , someone is getting carried away here.) The pieces are usually on black fabric, completely covered with mostly flower motifs ranging in from hand-sized to a foot or so. The colors are mostly reds, greens, blues and white, in strong clear colors. Many of the motifs are circular or paisley shaped, and many of them are constructed so they almost vibrate with motion. They have very sophisticated details, because this embroidery was purely decorative and displayed a woman's (highly valued) artistic skills.

I get excited just thinking about them! I wanted to buy the exhibit book, but it is $60.00! Yikes.

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