LAGUNA BEACH, CA.-Rohrer Fine Art is pleased to announce its next exhibition, Collaborations, which will feature embroideries by the artist Robert Glenn Ketchum. Embroidery is a very ancient art form in China, but it takes on an exciting, new twist under Ketchums direction. As an environmentalist photographer, Ketchum mastered the art of photographing landscapes and capturing the delicate essence of nature. And yet, he was always searching for new ways in which to portray the texture of the scenes he photographed. He found his answer back in 1986 when he began collaborating with the Suzhou Embroidery Institute in Suzhou, China.
The Embroidery Institute uses random stitch embroidery, which builds up layers of stitches of varying length, color and thread width, allowing the embroiderer to convey a sense of depth, atmosphere and color nuance, much like an oil painting. In addition, in order to convey the detail of Ketchums pieces, the embroiderers successfully split a thread forty-two times and developed a new type of loom that can hold three-thousand lines of thread, as opposed to the traditional looms which hold one-thousand.
In spite of this precision, the embroideries are never exact copies of the photographs. Ketchum and the Institutes director, Zhang Meifang, discuss the essence of the photograph, what it is trying to convey and often introduce new ideas into the process, such as exploiting the effect of negative space by leaving entire swaths of the background blank. What would previously have been considered unfinished in Chinese embroidery, took on new life and meaning in Ketchums work. The embroideries themselves are exquisite to behold, but it is this background knowledge of the collaborative relationship between Ketchum and the Institute that makes them fascinating and meaningful. By juxtaposing the speed and precision of photography with the grace and creative potential of embroidery, Ketchum has found a unique way to pursue his artistic vision.
Rohrer Fine Art presents and promotes a global spectrum of art and design in a unique format highlighting rare and breathtaking art of the last 2000 years. The gallery is located at 346 North Coast Highway in Laguna Beach and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, please call 1-800-949-5211.