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A Barbed Wire Typology

A Barbed Wire Typology consists of thirty-five images of early patents for barbs for wire fencing. These are only a handful of the hundreds, if not thousands, of different configurations of steel barbs created in the latter nineteenth and early twentieth century in America.

Each work in this typology is embroidered on linen. The images of the barbs are embroidered in black over dense and solid coloured grounds. The text around the ground names and describes each patent.

There is an irony in embroidering such menacing images. Individual pieces in part refer to samplers – stitched and commemorative fabric works made for the home. The reference to gender and craft practices is meant to strengthen the meaning of the work in terms of the relationship between public and private space, containment, and the implication of the personal in larger political and social histories.

This work was created for the exhibition Beaux rêves, dures verities, Sweet Dreams, Hard Truths that took place at the Musée d’art de Joliette in Joliette, Quebec from January 31 to May 25, 2010. The curator of the exhibition was Eve-Lyne Beaudry.

Made with the assistance of Flower Lunn and Nancy Anne McPhee

Media: embroidery thread on linen
Dimensions: wall installation: 173.5 x 171.5 cm (63.3” x 67.5”); individual pieces 23 x 33 cm (9” x 13”)

Photography: Richard-Max Tremblay