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Realistic Embroidered Portraits Explore the Complexity of Human Identity

Cayce Zavaglia‘s portraits capture her subject's natural beauty through textured layers of hand stitched embroidery, emulating the brushwork of classical oil paintings. Trained as a painter, Zavaglia made the switch to embroidery as her primary medium over 14 years ago. Her latest work finds her returning to her roots, combining paint and embroidery to explore the hidden and abstract. She represents this visual duality by placing paintings depicting the haphazard, reverse side of her embroidered creations beside each hand-embroidered portrait.

Zavaglia's artistic training is apparent in her intricate crosshatching, her blend of colors and tones creating a depth and richness to each piece. Using friends and family as subject matter, each image commutes an organic beauty through the natural expressions of those depicted. With her newest exhibition, the Missouri-based artist aims to highlight “the reverse side of [her] embroideries, which historically and traditionally have been hidden from the viewer,” in order to initiate a conversation about “the divergence between our presented and private selves.” The contrast between the hyperrealistic front images, with the chaotic and loosely abstract knots of the reverse provides a haunting comparison and facilitates a dialogue.

Zavaglia's portraits have always been an impressive display of skill, with a natural beauty that shines through the detailed thread work, but her newest collection showcases an artistic growth as she uses her talent to explore a deeper narrative. Selected works will be on display in an exhibit, titled About Face, at Lyons Wier Gallery in New York from November 5th to December 6, 2015.

Cayce Zavaglia: Website | Instagram | Twitter

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Cayce Zavaglia.

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