Luxuriant Tufted Portraits by Artist Simone Saunders Exude Black Joy | Colossal


JUNE 7, 2022. GABRIELLE LAWRENCE
“Excellence” (2021), hand-tufted velvet, acrylic, and wool yarn on rug warp, 152.4 x 152.4 x 1.5 centimeters. All images © Simone Saunders

Simone Saunders’ love-based practice adds its own texture to the magic of Black joy and resilience. On Instagram, she writes:

I celebrate the wins. I know the darkness in this world, so do you. It can drag us down. And when I post, positive messaging is key for me. To share light and love and to look at the world as vibrant and colourful as it can be….It’s reflected in my textiles, to uplift narratives often tethered to dark undertones, with the gift of bright hues. I’m not asking anyone to “smile”, because life will hurt. But hold onto your light… keep grasp of your love.

For Saunders (previously), celebrating love is not grand, abstract, or impossible to grasp. It’s as honest as a single strand of thread. Close-ups of her textiles, rug-tufting, and punch-needle works reveal what it means to paint with fabric—that is, to embrace the fluidity of color and create intricacy in its different shades, not taking the versatility or collective power of the individual pieces for granted. The artist’s attention to detail adds depth, dynamism, and life to each scene so that the subjects are captured in their full essence.

Left: “Queen of Spades.” Right: “Queen of Diamonds”

In The Four Queens, Saunders draws on the tradition of Art Nouveau, a period of art history specifically concerned with capturing feminine beauty and radiance. Though the artist felt an attraction to the 18th-century tradition, she couldn’t form a genuine bond with the material because of its severe underrepresentation. The heart of these whimsical scenes, the epitome of angelic beauty, was often a white face. And so, Saunders set out to create her own style: Black Nouveau.[…]

Detail of “Queen of Spades”

More: Luxuriant Tufted Portraits by Artist Simone Saunders Exude Black Joy

About agogo22

Director of Manchester School of Samba at http://www.sambaman.org.uk
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