Provenace: Courtesy of the artist and Marinaro Gallery
Elaine Reichek’s embroidering of words onto fabric rejoins text to its etymological sibling, textile. In the early 1990s, Reichek began researching the history of the embroidered sampler and sewing new versions of traditional patterns. In her revisionist samplers, she strategically replaces the usual scriptural verse or wise maxim — which young girls learned to sew as part of their education — with alternative literary or historical quotes from a distinctly feminist perspective, whether critical or humorous. Over time, as Reichek appropriated from a wider variety of both textual and art historical sources, her embroideries have expanded beyond the formal bounds of the sampler, even as they continue to employ thread and fabric as fundamental materials.
Elaine Reichek (b. 1943) lives and works in New York. She received a BA from Brooklyn College and a BFA from Yale University, and has exhibited extensively since the mid-1970s in the United States and abroad. She has had solo exhibitions at Secession, Vienna; the Jewish Museum, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels; the Tel Aviv Museum; the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio; Stichting De Appel, Amsterdam; and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. Her work is in the collections of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum, Jewish Museum, Museum of Arts and Design, and Brooklyn Museum; Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum, Philadelphia; the Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach, Florida; the Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas; and the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, among others. Reichek’s work was included in Art_Textiles at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, UK, in 2015;Art/Histories at the Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, in 2014; the 2012 São Paulo Biennial in Brazil; the 2012 Whitney Biennial; and the Cheongju International Craft Biennale 2011 in Korea. Her work is also presently on view in Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950–2019, at the Whitney Museum of American Art, until January 2021.