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Embroidery #2 and more art by Maria Karametou

Embroidery #2
40.5 x 66.5 inch (h x w)
bobby pins
Synthetic Hair

Inspired by my personal experience and history of migration, mobility, and displacement, my work has always related to the exploration of identity and our personal journey of self-discovery. I work with various materials and cross-disciplinary techniques to examine identity by observing, recording, and interpreting the world around me as I see it.
In the most recent series, I address the relationship between gender and identity. By repurposing mass-produced materials commonly associated with women, such as bobby pins and strands of hair, and using them like needles and threads, I “stitch” intricate designs and patterns that often bring to mind embroideries and weavings.
I make no preliminary studies. I put a few lines in, move back, see what is needed, add a few more, loving the immediacy, the surprise, and the risk. As I incorporate and frequently cut, each individual bobby pin one at a time, the process is labor-intensive and slow, like the handiwork my grandmother taught me to make as a young girl growing up in Athens, Greece. In this respect, these works also relate to textiles and examine the boundaries between art and craft.
What interests me is to uncover the poetry of the commonplace materials I am so familiar with, transform them to explore social stereotypes, and speak about what I know, who I am, what my relationship as a woman is to the contemporary world and, ultimately, about the human experience.

Maria Karametou is a mixed media artist, writer, and professor with an international exhibition record that includes: the Ludwig Museum for International Art, Aachen, Germany; the Vorres Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece; the National Museum of Women, Washington, D.C.; the National Gallery of Art, Sofia, Bulgaria; Apartman Projesi, Istanbul Turkey; Trito Mati Gallery, Athens, Greece; Elite Gallery, Moscow, Russia; Kunstwerk Carlshütte, Büdelsdorf, Germany; A. Taki Gallery Istanbul, Turkey; Asian ArtWorks, Beijing, China; Sejong Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea, among many others. In the U.S. her work has been shown at The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; The Holter Museum, Montana; The Baltimore Museum; The North Dakota Museum; The Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C.; The Montana Museum; The Danville Museum (VA); The Portsmouth Museum (VA); The Harper Collins Gallery, New York, N.Y; The John Elder Gallery, New York, N.Y.; The Shiva Gallery, New York, N.Y.; among numerous others. Karametou has also exhibited extensively in the Washington D.C. area where she lives and has participated in many international collaborative projects including the “Penelopeia,” sponsored by the Greek Presidency of the European Union. Her work is in permanent collections worldwide, including The Vorres Museum, Athens, Greece; the Baltimore Museum; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, Greece; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Crete, Greece; The Inova Hospital Group, McLean, VA; the Freddie Mac Corporation; etc. Karametou is the recipient of many awards such as a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar Award from the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars, the First Prize in the Maryland Biennial, and Individual Artist Grants from the Maryland State Arts Council. She holds the BA from the University of Maryland (cum laude), and the MFA from the Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore, where she studied with renowned artists Grace Hartigan and Salvatore Scarpitta. Karametou is a professor at the School of Art, George Mason University, where she directs the Drawing Division.

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