In her series The Dementia Darnings, Jenni Dutton has taken selected photos and reproduced them as large scale densely woven depictions in fine wool.
These photographs represent Dutton’s mother at various points of her life. In making these portraits, she has encountered and explores new perspectives on her mother’s dementia and the erosive, as well as the transformative, effects of this illness on the self and the mother-daughter relationship.
In developing of each of these images, she has come into contact with those ideas associated with the threads that bind, the threads that fray; the threads that unravel and the threads that are cut loose.
This coming together of method and material with content and context, aligns the act of stitching and weaving with the fibres of memory and the process of remembering and not remembering. Each thread sewn brings the body, particularly the female body, in relation to the threads that tie generations of women together and make tangible the emotional, as well as the biological ties between mother and daughter.
Their iconic quality and arresting scale sets up a reverential relationship between subject and viewer and, together with the outward gaze of the subject, their poignancy is unavoidable.