Nina Johnson is proud to present Trinity, an exhibition of recent textile works by Elsa Hansen Oldham.
Ranging in size from large-scale composite quilts to intimate swatches no bigger than a handkerchief, Hansen Oldham’s fiber works honor the centuries-old tradition of decorative embroidery while simultaneously engaging with decidedly contemporary characters. Each piece in Trinity is painstakingly embroidered using a cross-stitching technique to illustrate her characters in the pixelated simplicity of 8-bit graphics. Using these combined references to both American craft tradition and early digital rendering, Hansen Oldham takes a radically democratic approach to choosing her subjects; historical giants like Sisyphus and baby Jesus as well as locals from her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, are all portrayed with equal importance.
In addition to the two large quilts, Trinity includes several smaller works with groups of three people. Hansen Oldham’s unexpected compositions compress her personal narrative with a critique of celebrity: in one piece, baby Jesus is grouped with the famously kidnapped Lindbergh baby and Hansen Oldham’s recently born child, while another has activist Greta Thunberg arranged with actress Greta Garbo and American rock band Greta von Fleet.
Inspired by the birth of her first child and the expansion of her family from two to three people, the works in Trinity illustrate Hansen Oldham’s deep fascination with cultural history. Through her combinations, Hansen Oldham allows novel connections to be made between otherwise unrelated characters.
About Elsa Hansen Oldham
Elsa Hansen Oldham (b. 1986, Louisville, KY) lives and works in Louisville, KY. She has exhibited at KMAC Museum, Louisville, KY; Dickinson Gallery, New York, NY; and Rental Gallery, East Hampton, NY, among others.