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Alexandra Bowman
Threading the Needle

Aluminum wire, copper wire, polymer clay, foil, acrylic paint, a plastic base
8″ x 9″ x 10″


Lauryn Welch, Painter & Performance Artist

Lauryn Welch
Painter & Performance Artist

Artist Statement
“I am an art student from Northern Virginia. As a contemporary realist, I enjoy the fascinating and exhilarating process of translating what I see into representations that provide new ways for viewers to experience a subject. I often experiment with seemingly ordinary subjects in order to surprise the viewer with a new perspective. I might focus specifically on color, light, the curve of a form, the emotional power of an expression, or on capturing the essence of an object through line.

I was recently selected as the 2016 Studio Art Student of the Year for Underclassmen at my high school. I am a cellist, a pianist, and I also enjoy British film and literature, science fiction, creative writing, and distance running. I live with my parents, brother, and an English Lab.

In this piece, I altered my subject’s scale in order to explore a common experience — lacing thread through a needle’s eye. Using aluminum wire, copper wire, and polymer clay, I created an impression of fraying thread wending through the eye of a needle. The chaotic fray of wires successfully threaded through the needle’s eye symbolizes the phrase threading the needle  which refers to the skillful navigation of complex problems involving conflicting forces. This piece and its magnified perspective represent the need to examine problems closely in order to successfully resolve conflicts.”

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Video Transcript
“Wow, I think you really succeeded in getting your viewer to see this everyday object in a totally new perspective. Immediately I thought of this furry teacup called-object by
Méret Oppenheim, who was a surrealist artist.

The needle and thread part wasn’t immediately apparent to me, I thought of a river or a tangle of hair. I think that slow realization is good for the viewer, but I would also like to see that river extended into a longer thread. I think that would increase some of the chaos that you’re talking about in your statement.

I think it’s also interesting to consider the totemic nature of this object. The handmade quality of the eye of the needle makes it look as if it were an artifact built for some kind of worship or place in the home. For that reason, I would consider how the pedestal functions with your sculpture – does it need to be a museum white pedestal or could it be something else?”

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3 responses on "Alexandra Bowman"

  1. The premise of this piece is terrific, I’ve seen many artists shift the scale of objects, but this seems so incredibly exaggerated to such an extreme degree that it really stands out! The way the wire has this spastic energy of it’s own is such a terrific contrast against the solid, straight positioning of the needle. That’s a great way to create different physical qualities within one sculpture.

    Bases in sculpture are always really tricky, sometimes you really do need them for structural support, but I think in this case you probably could remove the base altogether. the wire and the needle are so elegant and cohesive together that the blocky, geometric shape of the base seems out of pace by comparison.

    I’d also like to see the needle significantly taller, that would you more room and dramatic height for the wire to descend from and also make the needle a lot more elegant. Terrific piece, really inventive and unusual!

  2. I love the visual contrast between the energy of the wire and the heavy sculpt of the clay! This piece has such a striking, monumental quality; not simply because you’ve enlarged an object from the everyday, but because of that contrast in scale between the needle’s eye and the fibers of “thread.” To me, it was apparent what you were replicating almost immediately, but I do think incorporating more of the base of the needle would make the image read even more clearly.

    You could also consider replicating the color and surface of the needle more accurately, or otherwise abstracting your sculpture further… This mundane subject is actually full of possibilities! Excellent choice – and great work.

    • I love how you chose to use different colored wire for the thread. I remember looking at fibers under a microscope when I was younger and being so fascinated by how many colors you are often able to see at that scale versus with the naked eye.

      I think the needle itself could have some details added to it. Right now the thread is just so satisfying and well thought through, and I’m craving to see that kind of detail in the eye of the needle too. Perhaps this comes from perfecting its shape and then creating minor nicks and imperfections you would only see at that microscopic scale. I’m also kind of craving that reflective quality of the needle to show through, although I do like the heaviness and mass of the clay. There are a lot of possibilities!

      This is a very energetic and accomplished piece already! With some more experimentation, I think you could push it even further!

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