On 3rd Friday in October, Kiosk Gallery presents Who Needs Donuts? – a solo exhibition of embroidered work by Jennifer Boe. Boe’s detailed embroidery draws upon emotional and memorial connection with food, through a meditative practice which explores a paradoxical interplay of spontaneity and slow, deliberate attention to detail.
From the archives of the New York Times…
Who Needs Donuts?
Barbara Bottner, Oct. 14, 1973
The story is an adventure tale: Sam, a nice suburban kid, wants more… donuts as Mr. [Alan] Stamaty spells it… “not just a few, but hundreds and thousands and millions more donuts than his mother and father can ever buy him.” Sam hops on his tricycle and hits the big city where he apprentices himself to Mr. Bikferd, a doughnut collector. In an unlikely love scene, however, Mr. Bikferd falls for Pretzel Annie and runs off with her to open a pretzel store. This leaves Sam with the problem of what to do with all those doughnuts. There is one old lady, the running, thread that unifies this zany tale, who shows up occasionally to mutter enigmatically: “Who needs donuts when you’ve got love?”
The taste, smell, and texture of food can be extraordinarily evocative, bringing back memories not just of eating the food itself but also of place and setting. Food forms a powerful part of the emotional narrative of our lives. Every holiday, birthday, first date, anniversary, or break-up; every day of our lives, we eat. Food taps into our feelings of health, safety, guilt, fear, happiness, success, and well-being.
Embroidering is a meditative act for me. I enjoy sitting and spending several hours stitching. I consider each of these donuts to be my own strange attempt at drawing an enso. The enso is a universal symbol of wholeness and completion; “form is void and void is form.” In the Zen school of Buddhism creation of an enso symbolizes a moment in time in the life of the artist when the mind is free to simply let the spirit create through the physical body. Drawing an enso is a meditative or contemplative exercise and is created from one spontaneous chance, one stroke. The embroidery of these donuts, however, is instead very premeditated and slow, taking weeks to complete.
Jennifer Boe is a Kansas City artist who is known for her detailed embroideries of food and irreverent religious imagery. She has shown nationally and internationally at such galleries and museums as UMKC Gallery of Art, Kansas City Jewish Museum of Contemporary Art and The Greenlease Gallery in Kansas City; Ellipse Arts Center, Arlington, VA; and Triennale Museum, Milan, Italy. Her work is in the collections of University of Kansas Medical Center, H&R Block and The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. She has also been featured in the magazine Bust and the book PUSH Stitchery: 30 Artists Explore the Boundaries of Stitched Art.
Artist’s reception: Friday, October 19th, from 6 to 9 pm
Show runs through: Thursday, November 8th
Open Hours: Fridays 12-6 pm, Saturdays 12-4 pm, and by appointment