Dana Fenwick at Zza’s

Dana Fenwick. “Embroidered Illustrations” at Zza’s Wine Bar. 550 Grand Ave. Oakland, CA
Curated by Obi Kaufmann
Reception, Friday Jan 23, 6-9pm

Dana Fenwick’s Statement:

My embroidery on domestic fibers is a response to the floral graphics present on many vintage domestic textiles. They remind me of simplified scientific diagrams that only show the most ideal version of a very complex subject – nature. In contrast, biology is endlessly complex and is constantly producing anomalies. The pervasive simplification of nature portrays a mechanistic paradigm that contradicts new thinking in systems science, which prioritizes relationships rather than individual parts. A Cartesian scientific philosophy is out of date especially as we face so many environmental crises. For me vintage textiles are a compelling canvas to juxtapose abstract biological imagery with rigid imitations of nature.

While rummaging through the fiber craft shelf at the library I found ‘Instruction Paper with Examination Questions’ a manual on ribbon trimming from the Woman’s Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences printed in the USA circa 1922. This revealed to me a science once held in high esteem, ribbon crafting. While women were excluded from the hard sciences they were developing fiber craft into a science of their own. This led me to explore the hard sciences-anatomy, biology in embroidery.

Dana Fenwick
Portland, OR


2008 Guardino Gallery, featured artist, Portland OR
2007 Tossed and Found traveling reuse art show curated by Taylor Stevens, Portland OR and Beirut Lebanon
2006 Contemporary Crafts Museum “Not Your Grandma’s Doily” Portland OR
2005 Northrup Station Inn Portland OR
2004 Eco-trust Building Portland OR

Education and Awards
2000-2004 BFA, Oregon College of Art and Craft, Portland OR
2004 Boekelheide and Brannon Award
2001 Jean Vollum Fibers Scholarship for Achievement
1998-1999 University of the Arts, Philadelphia PA


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