Embroidery isn’t an art form we’ve featured too much (ok, ever) in Heavy Metal, but then, we’ve never seen it done like this. Artist Jessica So Ren Tang is taking this usually-decorative medium and putting it front and center, with unconventional subject matter. Her “Girl” series in particular has popped up on social media and design blogs, and it’s easy to see why:
There is logic to this mad stitchcraft—here’s what the artist says about her work at jessicasorentang.com:
Embroidery is versatile in mimicking the original object in shape and design but still distinct enough to be recognized as something else. The stitches are soft but substantial, more tangible. … In my girl series, I replace the facial identity of suggestively posed Asian women with Asian textile patterns. The patterned skin creates a broader spectrum of Asian identity; it becomes more ambiguous and fluid as identity moves between the two.
While the girly stuff is perhaps the most eye-catching of So Ren Tang’s work, her embroidered sculptures of everyday items from Asian culture may be even technically more impressive—check out “Blue Willow Plate,” a recreation in fabric and thread of well-known traditional Chinese white pottery:
So Ren Tang says her aim with the “Object” series is to: “recreate familiar Asian American objects that take on the visual identity of the original object but reject said identity due to its material.”
To keep up on So Ren Tang’s latest work, follow her at Instagram.com/jessicasorentang, where she faithfully documents her works-in-progress as they take shape. While the work she’s created so far is not for sale, she may be offering commissions in 2017.