Artist sews up loose ends in obsessive ‘Hoarding’ exhibit

By Carl Nadig

“Sewing Up Loose Ends” by guest artist Jaclyn Mednicov adds to the chaos of “Hoarding, Amassing, and Excess” at the NIU Art Museum.

The extension of the art gallery was a subtle transition made over the weekend. The exhibit’s purpose is to portray the psychological results between rituals of obsessive-compulsive behavior and assorted junk. Mednicov tied her piece into the rest of the exhibit.

In the corners of the exhibit are some trinkets and miscellaneous items, such as iPods, condoms, grandfather clocks, cupcake wrappers, bird cages, typewriters and, of course, old newspapers.

On a wall in the corner of the art gallery is a large collection of paper sewn together as the centerpiece of “Sewing Up Loose Ends.” Mednicov gave a live demonstration of her artistic process using a sewing machine Saturday, and university professors and Jo Burke, director of the gallery, provided an informal discussion on the aesthetics of repetition.

For many of the pieces, overpopulation and the importance of space, or the lack thereof, between each brush stroke, item or marking is a fundamental theme. The central notion is to express junk holds value in a person’s life if it possesses a story or memory.

What struck me the most was how some pieces seemed harmless, almost productive, but played with obsession and excessive behavior. A piece such as a whittled chair sitting in the middle of room caused me to wonder just how much dedication it took to create it. The piece is a subtle yet impactful reminder we all have our repetitious quirks.

This exhibition might make your skin crawl, especially if you’re the kind of person who has a problem throwing items away.