Between Sky and Earth: Jordan Nassar

Jordan Nassar, Between Sky and Earth, 2018. Hand embroidered cotton on cotton. Kamel Lazaar Foundation © Jordan Nassar. Image courtesy Anat Ebgi Gallery

The first exhibition at Art@Bainbridge features the work of Jordan Nassar, a thirty-four-year-old artist of Palestinian descent who lives and works in New York City. Using cross-stitch patterns traditional to Palestine, Nassar hand-embroiders textiles that he then stretches and frames, bringing them into a conversation with painting.The embroidery styles that Nassar reproduces are passed down primarily from mother to daughter as part of an

indigenous craft tradition supported through informal familial networks. Nassar has studied these textile patterns both in books and in direct contact with female artisans while participating in residencies and visiting Israel and Palestine. For certain works, he further develops a relationship with the artisans by beginning a composition and then sending the piece to the women to finish however they like, establishing a collaborative parity.

Nassar’s recent pieces take the traditional patterns as starting points, and building blocks, of idealized landscapes. The timeless, art historically rich subject of landscape opens up—through the specific resonances of his Palestinian cross-stitch patterns—to engage with issues as varied as language and ethnicity and concerns such as heritage and homeland, belonging and alienation. Nassar’s strikingly colored landscapes become both fantastic and seductive visions of, to quote the artist, “A Palestine that only really exists in the mind of the diaspora.”

Alexander J. Bacon Curatorial Associate / Ph.D. candidate, Art & Archaeology