Karen Reimer

Karen Reimer
The Domestic Partnership of Heaven and Hell
September 9, 2011 to January 28, 2012

Thurs Jan. 12, 6pm:
Artist talk with curator/writer/Founder of non-profit Threewalls Shannon Stratton

The title of this series is an adaptation of William Blake's <i>The Marriage of Heaven and Hell</i>, in which Blake builds a moral universe where heaven and hell are too symbiotically entwined to be considered opposites.   By combining the tactics and aesthetics of conceptual art with the tropes of domestic decoration, Reimer pushes concept and material, art and labor, language and pattern, utopia and realism, heaven and hell into the same space.

In this body of work, Reimer exchanges language for the imagery of stylized nature typical of domestic decoration. Starting with the literalism of replacing an image of flowers with the word "flowers", Reimer embroiders quotations in which that word appears on pillowcases. Ranging from the poetic to the pedagogical, these quotations address the practices of craft and decoration and the assumptions and debates surrounding those practices, with several quotes taken from scholars and philosophers of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Reimer is interested in revisiting that movement's ideas about craft, manual labor, learning, domesticity, etc., as they translate into the contemporary digital age.

The arrangement of the text on the pillowcases borrows equally from the traditions of embroidered pillowcase decoration and the formatting of language on computer screens, for example the blue boxing of selected words or the red strike-through of deletions when tracking changes.

Embroidering the quotations onto pillowcases is both an examination via embodiment or acting out of the ideas, and an attempt to put art into the realm of private domestic experience traditionally occupied by craft. The pillowcases are potentially useful objects.