August 2014: Deborah Unger & Sidnee Snell
Sidnee Snell is a textile artist who uses photo manipulation and stitching to create fabric paintings that reflect her diverse interests; lively cityscapes, quiet still lifes and the unexpected beauty found at the intersection where mother nature meets man-made objects. An electrical engineer by training, Sidnee came to art making via the domestic craft of quilt making. Sidnee’s larger pieces combine photo manipulation with a unique applique technique and a heavily stitched surface. The applique process includes manually transferring a computer generated placement and stitching guide to a foundation, then attaching and trimming individual pieces of solid colored, hand dyed fabric to construct the desired imagery for the top. The top is then layered with cotton batting and backing, heavily stitched and washed to produce a highly textured surface. Her smaller pieces utilize photo transfer, manual color enhancement and light stitching. Sidnee explains “Photographic images are the basis of my current work. I don’t always know what it is about a particular image that draws my attention until I begin to work with it; I only know that it calls. The process of making art is important to a means an end result. I am artist and an engineer. I love playing with my tech tools. At the same time, the tactile nature and physical processes of creating with fiber-dyeing, painting, cutting, and manipulating the textiles inspire me.”
Deborah Unger’s sculptures are, at first glance, seemingly simple dolls, but on further examination the carved figures, each set in a special environment or vignette, evoke unsettling, nostalgic and thought provoking emotions. They can be interpreted as ironic, metaphoric or amusing. Unger’s introspective images use metaphor to describe personal and relational conflicts, making them reminiscent of what one might experience in a dream. She carves her figurative sculptures from basswood. As the human figures emerge from the wood; they became the “soul” inhabitants of their environment. After the carving, she then dresses them in clothes she sews. Using both hand and power tools, the doll-like figures are carved in components in order to accommodate the clothing. They are then dressed and arms or legs attached and the clothing sewn closed. The figures generally exist with or in structures, of which houses are a reoccurring element, employing a hierarchy of scale. Their postures and their trappings tell an intricate and compelling story.