Sydney Matrisciano writes, “My research combines socio-legal methodology with artistic practice, centering traditional techniques in embroidery and photography with natural pigments, to highlight overlooked aspects of a scene, such as the enduring effects of whiteness in Mississippi landscapes.” The artist's work appears in Wild Pigment Project, a group exhibition that's on view at form & concept through early December.
The international show (and the project that inspired it) promotes ecological balance and regenerative economies through a passion for wild pigments, their places of origin, and their cultural histories. Read an interview between Wild Pigment Project curator Tilke Elkins and Matrisciano here, and check out more words from the artist below.
This piece is part of a larger series combining legal research with artistic output. Using title searches, zoning regulations, and other facets of property law, I have explored Mississippi’s layered history through observing changes in its landscape. Focusing on manmade shifts and alterations to the natural environment, my project explores the ways in which white America has exercised its property rights, to the unjust exclusion and detriment of others.
Redneck Recreation depicts an eroded clay bluff in southern Mississippi, owned by an out-of-state corporate entity. Despite the numerous ‘keep out’ and ‘danger-no trespassing’ signs, the site has become a popular recreation spot. Picnickers, campers, and hikers crowd the shallow canyon with impunity. The trespassers are almost entirely white. Their visits further damage and erode the site-- to the point that the highway asphalt (see top embroidered square) has crumbled into the canyon. The laws and customs that allow the unfettered intrusions of white trespassers are the same societal norms that limit diversity of participants within lawful outdoor recreational experiences.
I use materials taken from the location of each photograph, like dirt, water, and plants, to make dyes and stains for my embroidery threads. I work exclusively in cotton threads and papers, embroidering photographs to draw your eye to specific parts of each image. I create each piece out of a deep love for Mississippi and an even deeper hope for a more equitable future for all its residents.
Sydney Matrisciano was born in Greenwood, Mississippi. She now lives in Chicago, IL, where she is attending Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law. Sydney’s interest in altered photography stems the role Instagram and Facebook played during her formative years, while her earth-based pigment practice is heavily influenced by her mentors, Mississippi artists Shirley Hamilton and Robin Whitfield.
She has previously participated in the Greenville Arts Council’s 2021 Biennial Invitational and the 2021 Pigments Revealed International Exhibit. She published “Embroidery on Paper: From Ming to Modern” in the Summer 2022 edition of Piecework Magazine. Her first solo exhibition, Whitewashed: Explorations of Mississippi Landscapes, is ongoing in Jackson, MS.