Elaine Reichek is well known for her conceptually and art-historically informed embroideries, which in the past she has always made by hand. Her latest exhibition at the Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, Pattern Recognition, combines two of these works with a new venture: a group of embroideries made on a computer-programmed sewing machine. Modeled after the pinked fabric swatches long used in the textile industry, these works reproduce paintings by over twenty well-known modern and contemporary artists, ranging from Arthur Dove to Piet Mondrian, from Henri Matisse to Philip Guston, from Ren’e Magritte to Andy Warhol, and on to living artists such as Ellen Gallagher, Damien Hirst, Ed Ruscha, Nancy Spero, Kara Walker, and more. Densely stitched emblems of uniform size and shape, Reichek’s embroideries return the artworks from which they derive to fabric-based traditions of pattern and design that long predate them, while at the same time updating them with a hyper-modern combination of mechanical and digital production.
Pattern Recognition will also include two handmade embroideries. The first reproduces a detail of Matisse’s Interior with an Egyptian Curtain, 1948, a painting picturing, among other things, a section of cloth from his textile collection, which provided him with many images that appear and recur in his art. Reichek’s embroidery restores that pattern to its textile origins. The second hand-embroidered work is a portrait of Matisse, based on a black and white photograph of him in his studio with color samples for his late works in cutout paper tacked up on the wall. Finally, a third component of the exhibition is a “swatch book”-a set of duplicates of Reichek’s framed digital embroideries, now bound into the kind of sample book used for centuries in the fabric industry.
This is Elaine Reichek’s third exhibition at Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery. Her most recent exhibition was Glossed in Translation at Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Santa Monica, in 2006. She has had solo exhibitions at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston; the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Jewish Museum, New York; and elsewhere. She lives and works in New York.