1 North Square, Cambridge, ON
Anna Torma’s textile art combines personal and formal elements with traditional hand-embroidery and stitching techniques producing complex images deeply rooted in culture and craft. Through layers of text and image amongst found and fabricated textiles the wall-hangings recall drawing and collage more than conventional embroidery.
In her recent work Torma has been using collected figurative wall hangings as source material. Customarily found in homes and used in kitchens to preserve the neatness of the cooking area these pieces were made by women using embroidery kits sold en masse at country markets. The hangings served as decoration as well as a poster for domestic values illustrating moral and religious virtue, wealth, unrequited and happy love. Torma’s works in the Encyclopaedia Domestica exhibition are based on these accumulated found handworks, which the artist rearranges and organizes to make their naïve universe visible. Using her excellent knowledge of embroidery and craft she transforms old stories into new complex pictographs elaborate in concepts and forms.
The exhibition also includes a series of older works, pieces from Cambridge Galleries Permanent Collection, and three new works in which Torma transforms heavily worn quilts handmade from WWI soldier’s uniforms with a series of embroidery drawings and text. Torma’s fascination with textiles comes from, as the artist puts it, “… the material's usefulness, its ability to represent and unite art, culture and history”.
Opening Reception: Saturday, April 2 at 2:30 pm
Anna Torma was born in Tarnaors, Hungary. Her interest in working with textiles goes back to early childhood when she learned to sew, knit, crochet and embroider from her mother and grandmothers. In1979, she graduated with a degree in Textile Art and Design from the Hungarian University of Applied Arts, Budapest, Hungary. She immigrated to Canada in 1988 and now lives in Baie Verte, New Brunswick.
A visual artist, she is principally known for her large-scale hand embroidered wall hangings. She has been a grant recipient from the New Brunswick Art Bank, Ontario Council for the Art and the Canada Council for the Arts. Her work has been exhibited solo in Ontario and Hungary; and in group shows across Canada, in the United States, Hungary, France, England, Belgium, Germany and China. Torma’s work is held in the Contemporary Textile Collection, Szombathely, Hungary, the New Brunswick Art Bank, Fredericton, New Brunswick, the Museum of Art and Design, New York, New York and many others. Torma's work "Bestiary No.1" was acquired for the permanent collection of the Canadian Embassy in Lima, Peru.