When Sophia Narrett traded in her paint tubes for embroidery thread, she was immediately hooked. “Weaving freed things up for me and totally made sense for the narratives I am trying to tell,” the artist says from her light-filled Brooklyn studio. Recalling epic 15th- and 16th-century canvases by Hieronymus Bosch, Narrett’s meticulously detailed, painterly thread works depict fantastical scenes filled with romance, love, violence, and sexual desire. Challenging what was once confined to the world of craft, or “women’s work,” Narrett’s unique approach pushes the medium to new limits.
Inspiration: “I gather images from the Internet, movies, TV shows, fan fiction, books, and hip-hop, sometimes even posing myself to put together a reference visual. Then I begin to embroider from that.”
Art School: Narrett has an MFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BA from Brown University. She also took part in a residency at the prestigious Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine.
Recent Shows: This past summer, Narrett’s work was showcased in the exhibition “Do You Love Me?” at P.P.O.W. Gallery in Chelsea; previously, she had solo shows at BRIC in Brooklyn and Freight + Volume in New York.
Up next: A finalist for the Museum of Arts and Design’s Burke Prize, which is awarded to a contemporary artist under the age of 45 working in glass, fiber, clay, metal, and/or wood, Narrett’s work is included in the Marie-Salomé Peyronnel-curated show “The Role of a Flower” at Brooklyn’s Ostudio. A group show titled “Idol Worship” at Smack Mellon in Brooklyn, on view November 16 through December 29, as well as a group show at Kohn Gallery in L.A. next spring.
“Mostly I was drawn by the work’s ingenuity. There is a great deal of craft and hand-delivered detail. The unorthodox shapes are evidence of imagination and curiosity, and the storytelling appears to ask disturbing questions.”—Nicola Vassell
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2019 Late Fall Issue under the headline “Galerie Emerging Artist Award.” Subscribe to the magazine.