60 WRD/MIN ART CRITIC
Jen Broemel
If the women of Gee’s Bend had attended the Bauhaus and come out the other side of the 1980s, they might have made quilts that look something like those of Jen Broemel. The self-taught artist, who has only been quilting since 2016, is something of a genius with neon thread and improvisational piecing. Her textiles are entirely deceptive from a distance, and even misleading up close, tricks of the most pleasurable sort. What looks to be a huge sheet printed with bold and irregular graphics turns out to be shapes stitched together so seamlessly as to require touch to believe. Others, meanwhile, are indeed printed graphics, but used inside out, their geometries showing through subtly from the reverse. Broemel’s hand embroidery, meanwhile, employed in a familiar cross-stitch and simple straight stitch, achieves the utterly unfamiliar by dint of being done in neon thread, casting an alternately pink, green or orange glow on the fabric it adorns. Would that we all, myself included, had such tapestries hanging on our walls or under which to dream.

—Lori Waxman 2019-05-02 6:34 PM
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