This body of work began sometime in the mid 1990's, as an experiment, seeing if I could adhere a dress to a canvas and create a painting over all the textures. "Dress painting" is a term I came up with to explain these when I simply couldn't think of anything better. Over the years they have evolved, with new elements of collage being added. Dress patterns, photographs, and embroidery all appear from time to time, as well as lino block prints, rubber stamps and gold leaf. I will use this space to explore the beginnings of this series, as well as showing my latest work. If the piece is available for sale you'll find the price at the bottom. Free shipping in the U.S. Contact me at kallencole@aol.com to purchase.

Would you like to see my full website? Head over to KathrineAllenColeman.com

Friday, April 20, 2012


"Birdbrain" is the latest big piece I've finished.  Like "Black Betty" and "Queen Bee" she is just over 72" tall by 24" wide.  The top canvas has her name cross stitched through the canvas, with birds on wires over top.  The next three canvases are birds nests made with sewing patterns, laid out like a slot machine.  I was trying to explain my thinking on this to Scott, and the best I can do is to say it's like the only options "Birdbrain" has are to nest.  She can keep pulling the handle, but no other choices come up.  The background on the main canvas is scattered with subtle sunflower seeds, and the birdcage is one that hangs in my studio.  The dress has a repeat pattern of Carolina Wrens, with tails crossed.  Behind the birds you can just see hints of sewing patterns coming through.  The canvas with the glove has a beautiful damask pattern in the background, and a scattering of just slightly larger than life size sunflower seeds in the shell.

Although "Birdbrain" is typically thought of as an insult, I prefer to think of her as someone who has birds on the brain.  Someone with a need to care for others.  This is represented by the seeds, (feeding) and the need to build, and decorate.  She is perhaps a little trapped by this, as seen in the birdcage, and the lack of choices with only the option to nest.  But I think she is happy, or at least content.

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