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Saskia Jordá
Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona
Recommendation by Deborah Ross

Saskia Jordá, "Home 1-11," 2014-2016, thread drawings on industrial felt. Photo courtesy of the artist

Continuing through June 12, 2016

When an artist’s basic materials involve knitting yarn, embroidery thread, felt and wooden cut-outs, there is a lingering presumption that the finished works will be whimsical and lightweight. To some degree, Saskia Jordá’s mixed media works are whimsical, yet underlying themes of geographical displacement and lost identity imply tragedy. Jordá delves into the psychology of memory and the tenuousness of family and home. One of her signatures is the use of beige industrial felt that has been cut into amoeba-like shapes and then stacked, so as to give a 3-D representation of the topographical lines on a map. Another signature is balls of yarn and pools of string that are methodically placed within a work.

While past mixed media pieces and installations by this Phoenix artist have sprawled across floors and hung from ceilings, this time Jordá’s works are more condensed and incisive. The smaller pieces hanging on the wall outnumber the free-standing works, signaling a new emphasis for the artist. Of particular interest is Jordá’s use of thin pieces of wood, often cut into ovals and arranged in rows to resemble a flattened, sinusoidal map of the world. In “Disputed Territories” the ovals are painted with stripes and irregular lines as if they are fragments from a map. Connected by a ribbon, taken as a whole they form a 7-foot-long cascade from the wall to the floor.

The idea of ownership versus impermanence gets expanded treatment in “Home 1-11,” a series of embroidered, 8-inch-square pieces of white felt. Using simple hand-stitching and a few colors of thread, Jordá nimbly examines “home” from various literal and figurative angles.

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