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Collection Connections - On care & healing through remembrance & art

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Art + Design, Our Voice

  • Bettina Matzkuhn, The Night It All Went (detail), 2001, synthetic fabric, thread. Photo by Scott Lee
    Bettina Matzkuhn, The Night It All Went (detail), 2001, synthetic fabric, thread. Photo by Scott Lee
  • Riverside Print Group: Under Construction (detail), 2021. Photo by Scott Lee
    Riverside Print Group: Under Construction (detail), 2021. Photo by Scott Lee

Karly Boileau | March 25, 2022

Collection Connections creates dialogue between current exhibitions and Cambridge Art Galleries' permanent collection of contemporary fibre art.

Several works on display in Riverside Print Group’s exhibition, Under Construction, use art and the process of printmaking as a way to explore personal memories both old and new that deal with loss, grief, pain, and isolation as well as their counterparts hope, healing, renewal, and survival. Through these works we see and feel the loss of a parent or sibling, the changing landscape around us, the personal struggles that we often keep close to ourselves and hidden from the outside world. In a way, the creation of these works become a therapeutic outlet to explore emotions and to make sense of a situation that is otherwise difficult to comprehend or accept.

In Bettina Matzkuhn’s 2001 work, The Night It All Went, the end of a relationship and an unexpected illness is explored through the metaphor of natural disaster and climate change. The work is one in a series of works by Matzkuhn called Inundation.The powerful emotions of loss and confusion are mirrored in the simultaneous flooding and explosion of a house. Everything that was once known is now lost, the future unknown. Throughout the work, Matzkuhn stitches small details of domestic life, adding an element of humour to an otherwise chaotic and frightening moment, “sometimes in the middle of disaster, laughing is a way to center yourself” says Matzkhun in her artist video

Similar to the way members of the Riverside Print Group use the process of printmaking, Matzkhun uses the manual and repetitive processes of embroidery and hand quilting to work through both personal and broader concerns. Layer upon layer, ink overlapping paper, or threads overlapping fabric, the process of creating these works and the methods chosen lend themselves to a timely project, a slow consideration and contemplation of the memories and issues that led to the artist creating their works.


Bettina Matzkuhn, The Night It All Went, 2001
synthetic fabric, thread. Photo by Scott Lee


Riverside Print Group: Under Construction
(installation detail, Cambridge Art Galleries, Preston), 2021. Photo by Scott Lee.


Riverside Print Group: Under Construction
(installation detail, Cambridge Art Galleries, Preston), 2021. Photo by Scott Lee.