1. How My Mother’s Embroidered Apron Unfolds in My Life
SEATTLE ART MUSEUM
After escaping Turkish oppression in his native Armenia, painter Arshile Gorky (1905–48) moved to New York. He may be seen as the bridge in American art between the likes of Europeans Miró, Cézanne, and Picasso, and the New York movement of abstract expressionism, in the form of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. He even shared a studio for a time with de Kooning. But sadly, Gorky’s life was punctuated by tragedy—including a devastating fire that destroyed his studio and much of his work—and ended with his suicide.
Knowing the artist’s troubled history adds a new layer to How My Mother’s Embroidered Apron Unfolds in My Life. The highly specific title of this piece is characteristic of Gorky’s work. It gives a sense of what was on his mind when he was painting and urges us to look for forms and narrative within the abstract wash of colors.