Portrait paintings or portrait embroideries? Cayce Zavaglia wants us to wonder and question the technique she is using. ‘About-Face’ is actually a series of embroideries. And they depict exclusively the artist’s close friends and family members. When flipped around, the portraits become abstract art pieces. “an attempt to show both sides…in hopes of initiating a dialogue about the two sides we each possess: the presented and the private self.’
As a former painter Cayce Zavaglia knows the impact of a brushstroke on the canvas and is therefore able to meticulously transfer the effect onto the tapestries. She begins the process by roughly taking a hundred pictures of her futur subject. She wants to catch the right expression. After selecting just one picture she starts working with one-ply embroidery thread on Belgian linen. She is able to render via fabric and thread the intricate details of blended colors and the texture that imitates oil painting.
The artists wants to create a dialogue between the viewer, the subject and herself. From far, the viewer might perceive the hyper-realist portraits as paintings and that’s ok. Up-close, they realize the mean used is embroidery. And by looking at the reverse side of the piece the viewers can begin to connect with the subject. The back of tapestries were historically never shown to the public. Cayce Zavaglia is making an exception. Because abstraction blurs the boundaries between the viewer and the art piece he/she is looking at and that’s when the dialogue begins to become interesting.