Dungaree Deviations (Jim Arendt)
By Marie Bergstedt
Denim, wool, cotton, buttons, beads, recycled clothing, needlepoint canvas – Hand stitched embroidery, crochet, knitting, quilting, and button work.
124.46 x 91.44 x 7.62 cm
About the Artist: Marie Bergstedt
Marie creates as communication. It is her way of speaking to herself and thinking. The rhythmic process of working with her hands expands meaning, and possible resolutions to real problems. “Dungaree Deviations” is a rare happy piece that started and ended with a smile, a portrait that helped her think through the meaning of a friendship. Disease, homelessness, death, failed aspirations and social issues almost always dominate the theme as she starts, but where is she going to? With every image, she is telling a story about herself, her relatives, and people she knows personally. She follows a path of making things better or overcoming loss, damage, or injury. For Marie, most of the images have a sad core, but as she weaves together memories and experience, both from history and our current times, the visuals that emerge bring out healing laughs, hope, and an opportunity to give rise to new voices, for viewers to find their own stories.
Why Jim Arendt?
I met Jim Arendt in 2013 when each of us was exhibiting at Fiberart International in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. The brief encounter initiated a friendship that has grown close over the years. We both worked real jobs for needed money when we were children. Most important, we now told stories through non-linear forms and fibre portraits composed of non- traditional materials. When we landed together again, Jim shocked me by offering a solo exhibition of my work at Coastal Carolina University where he directs the gallery program. In the end, that solo opportunity actually melded a tighter bond. I met Jim’s family and carried his then infant daughter around the gallery during the opening. “ Dungaree Deviations” casts in stitches, buttons and denim my vision of Jim Arendt. His three children dominate a treasured portion of his life and Facebook posts, represented here dancing into his brain in dungarees, so that his ideas can come out in denim. The treadle sewing machine is kind of “Basic Jim”. I have never known anyone so enamoured by the repair of old sewing machines that people abandon theirs on the road near his house. They can be confident that Jim will take in their cast offs and have them purring along in no time, just like the feral cats that breed in the piles of old denim in his garage. So here we are again, while residing on separate coasts of the United States now half way round the world exhibiting together…just hanging here in our old Michigan farmer dungarees on the walls of Timeless Textiles Gallery.