Today in the art world's version of odd couples, we humbly present you with: the embroidery and the X-ray. One may recall memories of grandma knitting by the fireplace telling stories of growing up in the snow. The other may prompt visions of sterile hospitals, clinical terminology and a nervous stomach ache. Who knew they'd go together so beautifully?
This unusual cross-pollination is the work of Philadelphia-based artist Matthew Cox. "In 2001 my sister and I had a couple of days in Paris together. We had a walk through those long halls of Medieval tapestry at the Louvre and later we realized our mutual respect for the beauty of medical X-rays. I had been thinking for a while about art as self-portraiture, in that it reveals where you are in your experience and interests. When I got back home I began to embroider X-rays."
Cox's images combine the tactile and the ethereal, the exterior and the interior, to yield unorthodox portraits that will make you feel warm and cold at the same time. "With the embroidered X-rays there is a clash between the soft/nurturing/motherly feel of embroidery and the hard reality of medical/illness/slick/photographic film," Cox explained.
Where does he get the phantom X-rays, you might ask. "Various places," he confessed to My Modern Met. "They are all found X-rays in the sense that none are taken for the purpose of art. Most are given to me by an Australian friend from his family. In Australia, unlike here, the patient holds their own X-rays throughout their life so each person ends up with a stack of their own physical history."
The following fantastical X-rays feature medical views of familiar friends including Barbie, Medusa and a Cyclops. We never said anything about this project was typical. Take a look at the images below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.