On the afternoon of Saturday, September 19, 1970 my three-year old brother, Owen, was struck by a car in front of our house and thrown almost 100 feet through the air. Except for the driver, I was the only witness to his death. I was five years old.

Since Owen’s death more than forty years ago certain objects associated with him have taken on an iconic status in my family; a wooden toy, a tiny tweed suit, a pair of baby shoes, but most particular, a photograph; the photograph my mother included in Christmas cards sent the same year he died; the photograph that was trimmed with gold tinsel and given pride of place on the Christmas tree each year; the photograph my mother and father held in family snap shots; the photograph sits on my shelf.

November 14, 2006 would have been Owen’s fortieth birthday. Forty is a milestone in everyone’s life; it marks the halfway. To honour his memory and to celebrate his birthday, my gift to my brother is belated, a series of forty portraits based on the iconic family photograph.

The first group of twenty, is a series of hand-woven portraits inspired by Warhol’s Mao, one of the most iconic images of the late 20th century. The colours are joyous, almonst child-like in their combinations.

The second group of twenty, memoria, is a series of cross-stitch portraits beginning with navy-on-white and working through a gradation of progressively lighter colours to a final white-on-white portrait. The cotton fabric I use for cross-stitch is heavily sized and rigid so it can be manipulated almost like paper. I exploit these properties in the fabric to fold, crease and crumple some of the finished cross-stich portraits suggesting the fragility and fallibility of memory.

Carl Stewart

Vernissage: Saturday, April 25 from 7-9 pm
Exhibit: April 21st to June 27th, 2015