Penny Mateer


penmateer@gmail.com

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Artist Information for Penny Mateer

My work is driven by current news events and rooted in quilting and embroidery. Following in the footsteps of women before me who expressed their ideas through stitches, I explore contemporary issues in patchwork. People respond to quilts, to the labor and time required in the making, which in turn opens a pathway into the topic raised between the stitches.

Influenced by protest music originating in the nineteen-sixties and seventies, I launched the Protest Series in 2005. Protest music inspires people to think, question assumptions and take action. The title of each piece is a song that reflects a societal issue asking the viewer to consider how and if history repeats itself or needs to be revisited.

Moving from appliqué to collage I began to make a hand-cut newspaper collage as a daily practice. Over time I’ve developed my own photojournalism by merging multiple “lenses” to create an "alternative" newspaper image. I am greatly concerned that the impact of photojournalism is diminished with the ongoing shift of news consumption from holding the newspaper to viewing a screen and strive to create work that the viewer cannot avoid with just one click.

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Mighty Grip

Mighty Grip89" x 89"   Photo by Tom Fitzpatrick

Staring at my fabric stash I glanced at Mighty Mouse and then zeroed in on Ronald McDonald only to discover they were created with the same primary colors, colors that would capture a child’s attention.  So the question is has Mighty Mouse come to save the day? 



(For God's Sake) We Got To Get More Power To The People #12 Protest Series

(For God's Sake) We Got To Get More Power To The People #12 Protest Series76" x 76"   Photo by Tom Fitzpatrick

The Chi-Lites challenged power and privilege with the plea to give more power to the people. “Cut this jive and see who's got the power to kill the most. When they run out of power, the world's gonna be a ghost. They know we’re not satisfied, so we begin to holler. Makin' us a promise and throwin' a few more dollars.” Fourty-eight years later it’s time to GET more power to the people.



Fight the Power! #15 Protest Series A collaboration with Martha Wasik

Fight the Power! #15 Protest Series A collaboration with Martha Wasik58" x 77"   Photo by Larry Berman

Fight the Power #15 Protest Series (a collaboration with Martha Wasik) is the first in this series to feature a digital print of one of the daily collages in a quilt. This piece harkens back to the 1968 Olympics. Fifty-one years later, Colin Kaepernick's silent kneeling gesture carries a powerful message as Carlos and Smith’s raised fists did then, with similar results backlash and misunderstanding. Using a variation of the traditional quilt block, courthouse steps, we honor unarmed African-Americans who died at the hands of the police, to exemplify Kaepernick's message and raise awareness. 



THIS Revolution Will Not Be Televised #13 Protest Series; A collaboration with Martha Wasik

THIS Revolution Will Not Be Televised #13 Protest Series; A collaboration with Martha Wasik94" x 77"   Photo by Larry Berman On 12/3/2014 the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Twitter posted a series of tweets naming 76 individuals killed in police custody since 1999 following the announcement that NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo would not be indicted for killing Eric Garner. Rich Juzwiak and Aleksander Chan compiled the tweets, photos and details on each individual and on 12/8/2014 published the list on www.gawker.com

The Past as Road to Tomorrow

The Past as Road to Tomorrow60" x 80"   Photo by Larry Berman

As the U.S. questions immigration policies a humanitarian crisis grows in Europe. Thousands flee war and oppression, risk death and endure incredible hardships in search of safety and security. Newspaper journalists tell their desperate stories, but I am concerned that the visual impact of their work is diminished with the ongoing shift of news delivery from holding the newspaper to viewing a screen. I am compelled to reimagine their work and confront viewers with these uncomfortable realities that they might otherwise avoid with just one click.