“When Life Strikes,” is a touching installation created by textile/fiber artist Sara White, evoking feelings of life and death, hope and loss, love and pain.
It was less than two years ago when Sara and her husband lost their first child Striker, due to preterm labor. Her journey of trying to have another child and working with a surrogate has been long and challenging. In her newest installation, she delicately recreates images of ultrasounds and embryos, constructed of intricate stitches using embroidery and sewing thread. She says, "I am working directly from ultrasounds of Striker, pictures of the embryos transferred, and my own mental images of my uterus after Striker was born, and that distinct feeling of emptiness." She strives to find beauty in these moments while accepting the sadness. This piece reminds Sara of how “life just strikes” and how precious it really is.
Shortly after her loss, it was hard to imagine preparing for a show, but it wasn't until she was looking at the images of her embryos when ideas started to flow. She says, "I began sewing at that moment and haven’t stopped. I sat with my grandmother's embroidery floss for hours, arranging and rearranging colors. I began recreating the images of the embryos and then ultrasounds on paper and translating them into fabrics.”
“Each individual piece influences the next in both scale, color, and form." She creates individual units which she pairs accordingly. "The work sits off of the wall so a shadow can be cast, highlighting layers and memory. The pinning for me also makes me think about frozen moments in time and trying to keep something so delicate and precious with you in a very specific way.” She creates a series of the same images, highlighting how they become more and more abstract over time.
The bright yet muted colors remind her of life and it's brilliance but also of how it fades, but will never be forgotten. She sees this fabric as a “universal access point,” and as something that we human beings interact with on a daily basis. “It goes back to the emotional and logistical daily presence of trying to create a family; it is as present as my interaction with clothing. They are both constant undercurrents, whether I am directly aware of it at any given moment or not.”
This piece represents Sara's happiest and saddest moments, from moments of hope and desire to loss and dejection. She says, "The feelings of loss for me are most overwhelming in the images of the empty uterus. I guess though, all the images represent that which has been lost but at the same time they represent a very real sense of life and the potential for future life.“
As painful as this process has been, Sara finds joy in the love and support she has felt around her and in the supportive partnership that has developed in finding a surrogate. This installation has been healing as Sara has been forced to spend time with these images and face the thoughts that coincide.
This exhibition will be held at the Ice Cube Gallery in Denver May 24th to June 16th, 2012. For more information please visit, www.icecubegallery.com or saragoldenbergwhite.com.