If idleness is the beginning of all vice and being busy its sole distraction, it’s possible that at some point occupation should itself become vice. Although normally the word “vice” is reserved for some reprehensible practice or habit, in this occasion it serves paradoxically to emphasize a tendency toward excess found in Daniela Edburg’s first solo exhibition at Yautepec Gallery, Pickle and Purl.
In this contrarian sense, the virtuosity with which Edburg executes her new work can be seen as a vigorous display of a recently acquired “vice”: knitting. She first learned to knit thanks to her grandmother’s personal instruction and later returned to it in order to realize a replica of a photograph in which a girl was sitting in a small garden made of yarn -- an image that, to her, suggested security in the middle of a desolate landscape. From this moment on -- and as the result of a series of changes in her personal life -- knitting would become a central medium of Edburg’s work. “To knit is a compulsive action that functions as both occupational therapy and as a manner of creating a safe place or a kind of quilted version of reality,” affirms the artist, whose favorite technique is the “purl” because it allows her to progress quickly, satiating whatever thirst for instant gratification.
In addition to representing a sense of protection, for Edburg knitting is also a way in which one can turn something totally basic into something elaborate. It’s an obsession channeled through an action that is said to preserve one’s mental health, a theme that manifests itself nearly literally with Edburg’s “preserved” knitted organs that form part of the exhibition. With these purled and pickled kidneys, the artist expresses nostalgia for the passage of time, the impulse to conserve and preserve everything, and the anxiety with which she interprets her surroundings.
Not so far removed is Edburg’s knitted atomic bomb, through which she attempts to reconcile an ongoing obsession with the self-destructive aspect of human nature. This brings to physicality a theme found in her well-known series of landscape photographs featuring images of American Dream-style suburban happiness interrupted by nuclear explosions. Indeed, the single photograph in the exhibition suggests a kind of aftermath, in which a solitary woman in the middle of nowhere attempts to control a picnic setting that has taken on a freakish life of its own. These compositions -- though colorful and precious to a degree -- convey a sense of mystery and give knitting a depth that unravels as remembrance for the domestic arts of the fairer sex.
— Daniela Elbahara