Press Release  April 29, 2019

"In Tension": Stitched Paintings Explore the Power of Fragility

Courtesy The Bee in the Lion

Dana Nechmad, Pre planning (detail), 2019, cotton embroidery on hand dyed canvas and polyester mesh

The Bee in the Lion is pleased to present In Tension, an exhibition of new works by Dana Nechmad on view at the gallery space from April 29 through June 28. This is Nechmad’s first solo exhibition with The Bee in the Lion. The gallery will host a reception for the artist on Monday, April 29, from 6-8PM.

Courtesy The Bee in the Lion

Dana Nechmad, Untitled (detail), 2019, hair wig on hand dyed canvas

Dana Nechmad’s paintings investigate the dynamic tension of female existence. Her work speaks through imprints of sexuality and fertility, pleasure and pain, pushing through and letting go–action sets intrinsic to life and being, that too often are written off as taboo by a patriarchal society.

Incorporating the laborious process of hand-dying and needlepoint threading, Nechmad creates textile-based works characterized by sanguine colors and textures evocative of the corporeal. Her figures are suspended in time and space, mid-movement, reveling as simple shapes composing a dynamic and transitional action.

Nechmad focuses on the visceral nature of physical memory through a female lens; every bruise, every scrape, every touch is recorded and informs the holistic identity. Her process–a highly physical performance–sees traces of dye added to fiber and subsequently removed by using corrosive chemicals like bleach; a creative act of mark-making simultaneously destroys the canvas. The artist’s chosen color palette explores the array of complex hues created within and by the body, the life-sustaining fluids its organs produce, sustain, lose and regain throughout one’s life cycle.

Courtesy The Bee in the Lion

Dana Nechmad, Almost, 2019, cotton embroidery on hand dyed and bleached canvas

Throughout In Tension, the distinct action marks created by hands play a central theme. These scrunches, pinches and piercings serve to investigate the tactility of the paintings, the threads lending themselves as methods of communication, reading almost braille-like. Nechmad manipulates the materials she employs to become either rigid and unmoving or soft and plush, reflecting the diverse elements of the female anatomy and the polarizing ways bodies are perceived. In this way, the artist explores the materiality of the textile in the same manner that one understands the flesh; piercing the fabric is akin to piercing skin. Collectively, the pieces become a living organism, in conversation, leaning on one another; figures leap towards the next canvas, always anticipating the next movement.

Dana Nechmad’s work focuses on the power, and fragility of the body. Her fascination lies with the emotion it arouses. In her practice she moves between painting, drawing, textile manipulation, embroidery and video. Her work has been shown in national and international exhibitions, notably Chicago, Tel Aviv and Florence. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2018., an MA in Philosophy from the Tel Aviv University in 2014, and a BFA from The Libera Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence Italy in 2010. Nechmad is based in Chicago, Illinois.

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