Crafting the City
September 23, 2011
Debbie Smyth’s threadwork transforms the white walls of galleries and museums into captivating city scenes. Her embroidered streetscapes are the culminations of endless wandering, photographing and sketching. With a background in textiles and an eye for drawing, Smyth uses black thread to build up lines in incredible ways. Click through for more.
Smyth’s compositions are made of simple outlines, mimicking how graphic novelists summarize cityscapes and other settings in the backgrounds of their panels. It is her innovative use of textiles that brings these rough, sketchy snapshots to life. Dangling thread and bunched up knots give her medium the flexibility of charcoal, activating each scene with an unspeakable buzz.
The use of textiles brings an element of the craft world into Smyth’s work and into each clean gallery setting as well. However minimal her site-specific compositions are, the artist’s gracefully unkempt lines of thread manage to capture the beautiful disorder of the humdrum world outside and bring it in for us to admire.