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Sophia Narrett’s Solo Show at Kohn Gallery

detail: Sophia Narrett, Whisper Like a Magnet, 2020, embroidery thread, aluminum and fabric 33 x 44in

Kohn Gallery has announced Soul Kiss, the first solo exhibition by New York-based artist Sophia Narrett. Known for her elaborately embroidered shaped canvases, Narrett weaves together spatially unfolding narratives of desire and sexuality. Each work invites the viewer to engage alongside it in a transcendent exercise of introspection, where the pursuit of sustained love is in concert with the search for the self.

“My work is about constructing something with a language that is problematic but using it to make my own narrative — sitting with what might be uncomfortable, and sometimes it’s about subverting that.”

Exploring topics of role-play, the emotional results of escapism and the evolving nature of identity, Narrett’s process of embroidery is both slow and careful. Each stitch is a painstaking practice of self-reflection that emphasizes the power of the human touch. At the same time, Narrett’s approach to conceptualizing her designs is inherently unconscious. “It’s always a process of fantasy and making the images I want to see, the process is cathartic,” Narrett explains. “As I work through the image, I look back and see what’s going on there, and what are the deeper social implications, how is it engaging with the world outside itself.”

While evocative of Hieronymus Bosch’s densely illustrative worlds of the 16th Century, Narrett’s work is simultaneously inspired by the feminist art movement of the 1970s. With its foundations in textile and craft, Narrett’s work explores these canons and decorative history of her medium as it relates to her feminine psyche. Fueled by a fascination with human prurience, Narrett’s erotic imaginations unravel some of our most intimate bonds with each other, speaking beneath its surface and ultimately tying back to human connection.

Narrett’s seductive tangles of surreal compositions repurpose colloquial imagery from the Internet and pop culture. Her wall works are woven with vulnerability and satire as they ruminate about a postmodern existence. “[I use} the language of the internet, and use the TV that I’m watching to make my own statements, as with any language; it shapes what I’m trying to say,” says Narrett. These often explicit scenes unveil her internal contemplations while contributing to a broader commentary on gender, obsession with images, and the collective unconscious. Her material approach to confronting corporeal desire– and divulging the darker aspects of relationships– shrouds layers of affliction under fabrics of lavish beauty. Soul Kiss articulates the energies that exist between people and how our desires bring us together.

Sophia Narrett is the recent recipient of the Galerie Emerging Artist Grant, as well as the Pollack-Krasner Foundation Grant; Creative Arts Council Grant; and the Rhode Island School of Design Matching Fellowship. Narrett has completed prominent residencies with the Museum of Art and Design Artist Studio Program, New York, NY, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME. Narrett has exhibited nationally and internationally, and is collected by major institutions including the Museum of Fine Art, Boston, MA; The Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY; Brown University, Providence, RI; Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, RI; and the CAPP Collection of Contemporary Art at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD. Recent and upcoming exhibitions include the Burke Prize, The Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY (2019-2020), where Narrett is a finalist for the museum’s prestigious award, as well as Never Done: 100 Years of Women in Politics and Beyond, Tang Museum, Saratoga Springs, NY (2020).

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