Ke-Sook Lee
Pricked: Extreme Embroidery
International group exhibition
Catalog essay by David Revere McFadden, Chief Curator
Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY
November 2007

Ke-Sook Lee drew upon personal and family memories when she created one Hundred Faceless Women. In this case her narrative memories take on a universal significance as commentary on the role of women in the domestic arena. Each handkerchief in the work has been embroidered with a motif or symbol that expresses a personal vision: “I draw personal symbols and transfigured women from my experiences of womanhood as an artist.”

The relationship between needle work practices and feminism has been explored by many embroiderers over the past decades.

Ke-Sook’s form of mark making using thread continues that exploration by recording non-text-based imagery that speaks of the concerns, dreams and fears of past generations of women in Korea, and particularly illiterate women. “Like most of women of their generation, my grandmother and great grandmother did not know how to read or write but they did know how to express their impassioned thoughts through embroidery with patience. My work is influenced by their graceful endurance and their creativity to transform their thoughts into beautiful embroidery,”