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Editorial: Features
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Daniela Edburg
Anya Tish Gallery, Houston, Texas
Recommendation by Donna Tennant


Daniela Edberg, "Killing Time," 2008, archival ink print, 45 x 30".

Continuing through April 19, 2014

At first, Daniela Edburg’s photograph of a woman sitting on an oversized chintz-covered chair knitting a seemingly endless pink scarf while talking on the phone seems humorous. In view of its title, “Spinster,” and typically of the other works in the show the piece takes on a much darker tone; this pattern of prosaic scenes and objects that accrue deeper, heavier meanings informs and enlivens the entire show. The scarf begins to look more like an octopus that threatens to wrap her in its tentacles and suffocate her. The title of the exhibition, “Killing Time,” reinforces the ominous quality of the piece. Is the woman insane? Did something snap after many years of living alone? Is there anyone on the other end of the phone line? Did she start knitting one day and simply lose touch with reality?

 

“Killing Time” could also refer to what one essentially does when spending long hours knitting, crocheting, embroidering or practicing any of the needle arts. Most of the photographs in the show contain a knitted article of clothing or an enigmatic fiber object that Edburg created herself. In “The Hovering Brain” it is dusk, and two adolescents, both of whom look too young to drive, appear to have stopped and gotten out of a vintage truck to examine a pink fiber object resembling a brain. Once again, questions abound: Are they siblings? Where are their parents? Why is this odd object by the side of the road?

 

Edburg’s photographs are visually lovely but emotionally disturbing. In “The Storm,” one wonders if the gathering storm on the horizon reflects what is going on in the young woman’s head. She stares off into the distance as she walks across a field, the oddly elongated sleeves of her orange knitted sweater trailing behind her. Edburg creates and then documents photographically surreal landscapes inhabited by mysterious characters and strange objects that invite the viewer to spin his or her own narrative. These poignant photographs question the nature of the “real” world as opposed to the world that each individual perceives as real. Edburg also makes clear just how fragile the boundary between sanity and madness really is.


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