Hudson River Museum
Yonkers, New York
Family Ties: Needlework by Denise Allen
January 15 - May 9, 1999
Denise Allen, Women's Work, 1997, mixed media, 47 x 95 inches, collection of the artist
Contemporary folk artist Denise Allen has been using needlework to address social and historical themes for nearly 20 years. Employing applique, crewel, patchwork, embroidery and quiitmaking techniques, she fabricates textile works that explore her African American heritage. Some pieces address historic topics, such as slavery in 19th-century America.
These works represent real people and events to tell such
stories as Harriet Tubman and the creation of the Underground Railroad.
Other works are more personal, bringing to life Allen's childhood memories
of growing up in Brooklyn. Almost all pieces depict traditional domestic
chores like cooking (the black pot-bellied stove figures prominently in
most works), sewing, washing and ironing, cleaning and caring for children.
Others recreate rural scenes, like the hustle and bustle inside a local
country store or the joy of worshipping in church.
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