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Eye of the Beholder - SOLD

Eye of the Beholder - SOLD

By Vivienne Beaumont


Textile machine embroidery on cotton

Original artwork


Image size: H:38cm x 36cm

Framed size:  H:46cm x W:50cm


This piece pays homage to the great earth mother goddess, Gia, who was interwoven with the cycles of nature, life, death and rebirth and who, in human form, was called Pandora, the creator of nature, as she is depicted here.


Vivienne reflects on the chequered career this goddess has had in the manipulative hands of generations of men. Originally, she was worshipped for her powers of fertility: the female cycles of menstruation, pregnancy and birth were celebrated.

"Early humans saw that life was created in the bodies of females and so it was natural for them to see an all-powerful creator as female. However, as nomadic life developed, the role of the male warrior and protector took precedence and Pandora was reinterpreted. In the eighth century BCE, the Greek poet Hesiod changed the character of Pandora, from the Great Earth Mother into Pandora the 'bringer of evil'. Her box, that originally was a womb, became a vessel of destruction." 


This densely-stitched machine embroidery shows the goddess Pandora holding a cornucopia bursting with corn. She is looking inside but her eyes are blank, while her mantle is covered with watchful eyes. The inspiration for the costume is Elizabeth I and her all-seeing and all-hearing dress in the famous portrait at Hatfield House. 


    Vivienne's extraordinary textile work is shaped by stories and symbols. She takes inspiration from ancient myths, fairy tales and nature, from female archetypes and the process of transformation – growing up and growing old. Rites of passage, risks and vulnerabilities pepper her narratives.


    Based on concepts she first developed during her MA, her visual stories are ripe with seeds, pomegranates and scenes of harvest and fertility. Textile pictures feature goddesses and their ability to relate to other people and other creatures.


    Feminists might easily find an affinity with her work – and so might anyone looking for hidden meanings and intriguing imagery drawn from centuries of story-telling and emotional experience.


    She starts with sketches and a drawing, transforming the design onto fabric in paint or by mono-printing. Using machine embroidery, print and collaged textile elements, she works with threads as other artists do with paint – blending, composing and layering. The results are visually stunning, as well as tactile.


    “I try to capture something something of the folk tale or fairy tale: the jeopardy of the miller’s daughter, the alchemy of weaving straw into gold. These tales have endured the ages, suggesting they hold a deeper meaning for us.  ...Mothers and daughters, love and rites of passage – the repeated cycles from one generation to the next – these loom large in my textile story.”       


    A former student of Fine Art in Cardiff and awarded a medal of Excellence from City & Guilds, Vivienne is a retired teacher based in Shropshire. We are honoured to be one of the first galleries to select and show her work.

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