Allied Arts Council of Lethbridge, The Gallery at Casa

Seam Stress – Alicia Barbieri

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Seam Stress – Alicia Barbieri

Bodies are an infinite patchwork of failures. They are self-mending systems of imperfection, causing collagen to cluster at their seams. Seam Stress explores identities as patchwork stitching together womanhood and illness/disability. The gowns in the collection combine hospital gowns and weighted blankets, questioning how weight can soothe and create pressure, dragging on your stitches.

Strain Train (2022) uses crazy and crumb quilting methods. Crumbs are forgotten discards. They are bodies that would have been swept up and thrown out for not meeting idealized standards. Crazy quilts embrace the warped and unpredictable, trading in the right angles for an interwoven web of decadent seams. These awkward fragment intersections, when mended together, form something new – a gown or body with unexplored possibilities and potential.

The gowns require an ongoing care cycle, mending the seams as the weight tears at their intersections. Mending refuses to replace the undesired with new idealized forms, increasing the visibility of imperfections with palpable stitches that are gestures and evidence of ministrations of care. I leave the videos as markers of the time performing daily ritualistic care all bodies need but forgotten in current medical systems that prioritize efficiency, idealized cures, and prescribed moulds.

Barbieri creates the quilted gowns as an in-between space that holds the complexity of new crip/queer realities of care. She aims to advocate for the potential of failures and misshapen scraps, which, when mended with tender care, may create a future of healing patchwork.

Alicia Barbieri is an interdisciplinary artist from Southern Alberta. She holds a BFA in Studio Art from the University of Lethbridge and received her MFA from the University of Guelph in 2022. Barbieri’s work has been shown at festivals and galleries across Canada, including Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa, ON), Peek Show 11 (Victoria, BC), The Plumb (Toronto, Canada), Penny Gallery (Lethbridge, AB), and Improvisation Festival (Toronto, ON),

Driven by her experiences with Wildervanck Syndrome, a congenital condition that has led to chronic pain, she considers the intersections of womanhood, queerness, and disability. Alicia investigates these intersections’ potential to form new Crip/queer realities in our current care systems over the intangible wholeness of an idealized cure. She wants to share the strength in bodies being too much and not enough and give physical form to the infinite potential of the bodies discarded for failure to conform. Genuine healing requires intimate forms of care and understanding, only acquired through time. Through combining performance, textiles, and photography, Barbieri injects this time into the photographic process, allowing material and interpersonal intersections to form.

Date:June 15th, 2024 – August 24th, 2024

Location:Casa – Main Gallery


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Saturday, June 15 at 9:00 am to
Saturday, August 24 at 9:00 pm

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