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Kaitlyn McBride explores dye politics

For her latest series, New York painter Caitlin McBride draws inspiration from a 19th-century dye recipe book in Manhattan’s Cooper Hewitt Museum.5 new paintings that make up the dyeing notesExhibited at Deanna Evans Projects. McBride explores through subtle symbolism the changing values ​​of working-class possessions as they enter the realm of high art.

Physically speaking, these paintings contain a large number. McBride intricately depicts a folded notebook on a dense wood panel. In the center, a rectangular sample of decorative design becomes a window into the hierarchy that structures production. Works such as “Labor in Making” and “Not Cut from the Quiting Cloth” show patterns of chains and bars reminiscent of slavery and prisons, while floral patterns evoke the bourgeois consumer, representing the end point of this process. increase.

McBride centers the series on a textile mill in Massachusetts during the Civil War, alluding to the bloody stakes of an unsolvable labor dispute. The fabric sampled on these pages, commonly known as ‘delaine’, was a combination of wool and cotton threads, each of which retained dye and maximized profits. Thus, the artist interweaves what has traditionally been the work of women with the broader exploitation of labor in the United States.

On top of this dyeing notes It serves as an inventory of our intertwined history. Drawing from photographic images in print, McBride’s paintings are the final form in a long process of consecration of the art world. This understated irony is a welcome criticism of progressivism, which often exalts the working class just for the sake of optics (eg museums and trade union treatment). But understanding this requires a fair amount of context, and makes me wonder who this series is really for.

On the far wall of the gallery is a small painting, “Mudsill Transom,” depicting tools customized by workers for their own processes. Because the viewpoint is flattened, it is unclear whether you are actually looking at the suspended display or inside the box. This dry scene is also an example of the separation of art and labor. Who were the women who used these tools, maintained these books, and mastered their craft? In an era of fast fashion and sweatshops in a place called the “global It shows how far the industry will go to keep workers out of sight.

Kaitlyn McBride, “Delaine Directions” (2022)
Kaitlyn McBride, “Not Cut Out of the Quitting Cloth” (2022)
Installation diagram of Caitlin MacBride: Dyeing Notes Diana Evans Projects

Caitlin MacBride: Dyeing Notes Deanna Evans Projects (373 Broadway E15, Tribeca, Manhattan) through December 17th. The exhibition was organized by the gallery.

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