Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Manual Autonomy: Mary Smull

My good friend and colleague Sarah Hulsey and I are curating and mounting an exhibition of the work of fiber artist Mary Smull! I am so excited to share with you the press release for this imminent exhibition.

Manual Autonomy, Mary Smull
Anderson Hall, 6th floor gallery
University of the Arts
333 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

EXHIBITION DATES: October 29 – November 16, 2012 ,
                                         Mon. – Fri. 8:30am – 4:00 pm and by appointment

OPENING RECEPTION: 5:30 – 7:30pm, Thursday, November 1, 2012

GALLERY TALK: Mary Smull, 6:00pm, Thursday, November 1, 2012

Philadelphia, PA – Anderson Hall, 6th floor gallery at the University of the Arts is pleased to
announce an exhibition by alumna Mary Smull.

Manual Autonomy presents two rule‐based needlepoint projects by Philadelphia artist Mary Smull. These works take needlepoint craft kits and deliberately subvert many of the original intensions of the kit, exploring the complicated relationship between hobbyist craft and fine art.
In the series Conceptual Needlepoint, Smull accepts the constraints of a needlepoint kit’s provided colors, but defies the kit’s intentions by formulating her own rules for the application of the colors, thus turning a prescribed pattern into an exploration of autonomy. In Finished Works Smull beings with abandoned, partially finished needlepoint projects, and then completes them — but using only white thread. These pieces preserve the structure of the original intension, but result in images full of hiatuses and encroaching blank fields.

Mary Smull holds a BFA from the University of the Arts in Fibers/Craft and an MFA in Fiber from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Smull’s work has been exhibited recently at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft; Public Fiction, Los Angeles, CA; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Her project SPUN: Society for the Prevention of Unfinished Needlepoint was recently presented at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in conjunction with the exhibition Craft Spoken Here. She teaches in the Fiber Department at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD.

Curated by Sarah Hulsey and Erin Paulson, MFA Book Arts/Printmaking candidates 2013.

Contact: Erin Paulson email:

High resolution images are available upon request.

Generously funded by the University of the Arts Alumni Association.

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