by Jacqueline Surdell

Wall installation, nylon, paper, resin and wood

117 x 53 cm

CLUTCH (dictionary definition)

(verb)grasp or seize (something) tightly or eagerly.(noun)

1. A tight grasp or an act of grasping something.

2. A mechanism for connecting and disconnecting a vehicle engine from its transmission system.


(in sport) denoting or occurring in a critical situation in which the outcome of a game or competition is at stake.

Textile history and technique has its roots in storytelling practices — lines of thread build atop one another forming narratives delineating great legends, and more interestingly, flaws, relating to the human condition in both methodology and final form.

To clutch a pearl necklace is to shock or be shocked… used ironically in this piece as being an individual in American society makes one feel increasingly numb to trauma. Strung on the pearl necklace is a COVID 19 facemask donning Crox, a Frederic Edwin Church painting referencing the fiery fury of the American civil war. In a complementary fashion, printed images of the 2020 California fires are dipped in epoxy and installed as landscape forms within the frame. When this work was made it certainly felt (and continues to feel) like American Society is on the precipice of great internal disaster (or awakening — depending on your “glass half full” vs “half empty” attitude).

The gold frame is strung with paracord (otherwise known as “survival cord”) — the tensile strength of which can hold up to 200lbs — another snide insinuation that, in a pinch, this is a handy tool one may need for the end of times.

The gold frame has been made into a loom. In their text, On Stuff and Nonsense: The Complexity of Cloth, author Claire Pajaczowska discusses the significance of the correlation between the frame of the loom and the picture frame. “The loom can be seen as a frame, portal, or aperture which opens through the two-dimensional world of the surface into the third dimension of space. The neon paracord at once references the textile of canvas, and also refutes, acting as the veil drawn over the real which enables the imaginary of art to take its place, as a semiotic, representational world.” — Pajaczowska


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About the artist

Jacqueline Surdell

Jacqueline Surdell was born and raised in Chicago, IL. She received her MFA in Fibre and Material Studies from the […]

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