Monday, October 15, 2012

Organic Farmers (or American Neo-Gothic)

Organic Farmers (or American Neo-Gothic). Stitched words: American Neo-Gothic. Background words include: Local, All Natural, Homemade. Unframed: 25 1/2" x 31". Framed: 31" x 37". Xylene transfer on tea-stained muslin. Hand stitched.  Click on image to enlarge.

Over a month ago I went to one of the farmer's markets in the greater Columbia area in order to secure this digital image. Selvin and Edwina Harrell were very busy selling their fresh fruits and vegetables in addition to fabulous cut flowers. They own Crooked Cedar Farms ( in nearby Blythewood, South Carolina. As retired state employees, it is obvious that organic farming is a passion...a commitment...a lifetime decision. For me, they exemplify the image of a twenty-first century, family farmer....contemporary and determined, idealistic and far-sighted.

I designed the piece with obvious references to Grant Wood's classic 1930 oil painting American Gothic. (Below). Though this classic, iconographic piece is owned by the Chicago Art Institute, I saw it a couple of years ago in Woods' retrospective at the Renwick Gallery in DC. No matter how many dissertations are written about this Iowan couple and their environment....the decision to farm is never questioned. I find this quality in the Harrell's portrait and in their decision to work the land.

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