FAREWELL, my exhibition at the William King Museum of Art / by Susan Jamison

 Drowning Dress )detail)

Drowning Dress )detail)

My exhibition Farewell, at the William King Museum of Art in Abingdon, Virginia continues through July until August 1st, 2015. Farewell features my textile based and sculptural works that are in remembrance of people who are lost, or are reminiscent of historical artifacts alongside drawings and watercolors that relate to the sea. Anchors and teardrop shaped lead weights are repeated symbols in this work. These anchors call to mind what can hold us securely in place in life or what can overwhelm and pull us under and the delicate balance between those two conditions. 

My body of textile based work began with “Drowning Dress”, a memorial to Virginia Woolf, the feminist writer, who drowned herself in the River Ouse by placing rocks in the pockets of her heavy coat. My dress is made of sheer white silk embroidered with the word “farewell” in red around the collar. Sewn onto the dress are approximately 200 teardrop shaped lead fishing weights. This piece is mounted directly on the wall along with several textile based works and veil forms. These veil works are made of lace, teardrop shaped beads, and horsehair. These forms and materials are closely related to Victorian mourning culture and rituals, which are a continued subject of interest that I draw from.

 Susan Jamison, Drowning Dress, silk, cotton floss, lead weights, 58”x22”x8”, 2013 

Susan Jamison, Drowning Dress, silk, cotton floss, lead weights, 58”x22”x8”, 2013 

Works on paper done in graphite with accents of watercolor feature horses swimming through the blue sea. These pieces echo the theme of Farewell, using symbols of weights and anchors. I love the improbable image of a cumbersome beast moving through the water. The sea is a metaphor for the unseen world beyond our senses and for a passage from this world to the next. The uncontrollable power of the sea makes one acutely aware of the frailty of life in comparison. It can be viewed as physical, symbolic, and spiritual. It is timeless in quality and acts as a bridge between past and present. Seawater is said to be closely related to our blood and our tears. 

 Susan Jamison, Feral Sea Swim, graphite, watercolor on paper, 12”x16”, 2015 

Susan Jamison, Feral Sea Swim, graphite, watercolor on paper, 12”x16”, 2015 

Please check the museum's website for hours and details.  http://www.williamkingmuseum.org