Featured Collections: Kelly Kozma, Sarah Detweiler, and Han Cao
Posted on July 14 2020
Left to right: Han Cao’s “Sisters”,thread on found photograph, 5in x 7in, 2020; Kelly Kozma’s “Mask On, You’re Happy Now” (cropped) hand-embroidery, latex paint, marker and handmade sequins on paper, 2020; Sarah Detweiler’s “The Hidden (Creative Rainbow) Mother” (cropped), oil and embroidery thread on canvas, 18in x24in, 2020
This year has been a time for reflection. Reflection has been prevalent in the works of Kelly Kozma, Sarah Detweiler, and Han Cao, and continues to be, maybe now more than ever. Each featured artist has taken stories from the past and brought them to the future to be explored, taken apart, put back together again, never to be the same as before. This is sometimes from a personal approach, sometimes a more orbital one, but the results from these reimaginations connect these independent collections.
Kelly Kozma, Sarah Detweiler, and Han Cao
July 24, 2020 - August 22, 2020
Opening Friday, July 24th • 5:30pm
Watch the Artist Tour and Q&A:
Since the beginning of quarantine I felt the need to create bright and happy work. It seemed like that was the ticket to successfully convince myself that things would be ok. It would work for a while, and then another news cycle would unfold and the sparkle would dull. So I'd throw more color and shiny bits at it; think a superhero with glitter lasers coming out of the fingers. It got a little harder to get knocked down, and a little easier to get back up. This work became a shelter when I needed a place to hide and a shield when I felt strong enough to fight.
Even though my process is about adding on and building, conceptually it was more equivalent to chiseling. I slowly removed layers of loss, uncertainty, and anxiety to try and find some nugget of truth, comfort and stability. I never found those things, or at least not in a concrete way. However, I discovered that the search itself (ie: the process of making) was the most helpful way to alleviate the pain I was feeling. The slow nature of stitching and knotting thread is my way of marking time and I often found myself thinking “Things will be better when I'm done with this piece, things will have changed.” Sometimes they did, sometimes they had gotten worse, and other times I noticed I had just gotten better at adapting. But regardless, there was a physical object where there once was not; a record of that moment in time.
The radiant palette and light hearted imagery are a reflection of both my deep sadness and my highest hopes. On one hand, this work is about the facades we put up to protect ourselves and the faces we wear to create an idealized version of how we want to be perceived. However, there is also an intention to simply create a lightness and allow time and space to gaze upon something joyful and whimsical. I made bright and happy work from a dark place. My goal is not to disguise our experiences but rather channel their energy into something beautiful.
My “Hidden Mother” series is a personal exploration of how self-imposed roles and expectations shift in motherhood. This series is inspired by the Victorian photography convention, where mothers draped themselves in fabric in order to remain concealed while holding their children still for long exposure photography. In my series, concealing the mother is used to bring her identity into focus. You will notice that there are no children present in any of my paintings, because I am interested in the parts of a mother’s identity that become hidden by the duties of raising a child.
In the Victorian photographs, the hidden mothers took on an eerie, ghost-like presence. In my work, this haunting element is symbolic of the mother’s being reminded of the other parts of herself. There is an internal aspect that seeks expression but is also separate and inaccessible in her motherly role. This contradictory state is what I explore.
Within this series, there are three pieces that illustrate the Creative Rainbow Mother archetype, which mirrors my need to nurture both my creative being and my child. These are the pieces where the hidden mother is wearing a rainbow crown or halo. The rainbow acts as a way to honor the artist in the mother.
Most of the rainbows in my work are embroidered. My use of embroidery introduces a traditionally feminine technique in a non-traditional way and allows me to use texture as a tool with which to reveal. The shroud or veil conceals the figure and challenges the viewer to look past the traditional portrait of a mother and reflect on her multidimensional identity.
“New Nostalgia” is a collection of scenes from the past renewed with the perspectives of the present using hand embroidery on vintage photographs and postcards.
Han Cao uses embroidery to create new narratives for long-forgotten photographs and postcards found at flea markets and antique shops from around the world. All embroidery on the artwork is done by hand, directly onto the original found image. Her art combines fibers of embroidery thread with the paper fibers of each photograph to connect with the fibers of our own being – as the added dimension of each work challenges our self-identity and personal connection with unfamiliar people and places.
Due to COVID-19, Paradigm Gallery will be available for viewing by appointment only or on https://www.paradigmarts.org/ until further notice. These policies are dependent on the current policies of the CDC, WHO and the Governor and Mayor’s offices. To schedule an appointment to visit the gallery, click here.
Kelly Kozma, Sarah Detweiler, and Han Cao
July 24, 2020 - August 22, 2020
email@example.com • (267)266-0073
Paradigm Gallery + Studio
746 S. 4th Street • Philadelphia, PA 19147
Paradigm Gallery’s number one priority is the safety and wellness of their visitors. For live updates on the exhibition and appointments, please visit the Paradigm website and socials. For any questions on Paradigm’s current policies, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Paradigm Gallery
Paradigm Gallery + Studio® exhibits contemporary artwork from around the world with a focus on Philadelphia-based artists. Established February 2010, the gallery began as a project between co-founders and curators, Jason Chen and Sara McCorriston, as a space in which to create artwork, to exhibit the work of their peers, and to invite the members of the community to create and collect in a welcoming gallery setting. Now open 10 years, the gallery still aims to welcome all collectors, from first time to lifelong, and continues to support accessible work that welcomes a wide audience.
746 S 4th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Lainya Magaña, A&O PR
347 395 4155
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