Karen L Vaughan (2 stars)

Textile exhibition lacks the depth required to overcome its busy surroundings

Embroidered Panels

I can’t get that sound you make out of my head is a small display of Karen Vaughan’s series of embroidery panels in the Arches’ foyer. The works are hand-sewn panels of torn up old clothes from second hand shops, which are re-sewn with carefully embroidered lyrics from songs or found graffiti on top. The slogans are vaguely romantic and more than slightly flaccid, ripped abjectly out of context from songs by the indie likes of the Boo Radleys, Eugene Kelly, Teenage Fanclub or The National, as well as from street graffiti from around the world. One can’t help feeling that they might be more pertinent and effective in their original context.

The process seems to be the primary motivator for the work, with an apparently labour-intensive method of unpicking the clothes and cross-stitching into panel shapes with extremely tidy satin stitch for the words. They are very competently crafted, but it’s difficult to discern any depth below this surface.

Admittedly this foyer-cum-waiting-space is a difficult one to work in – bustling, dark and very noisy, there are too many other things to catch your interest. In fact it would be hard to achieve anything more than a decoration here, with most people waiting for a performance, gig or just a seat in the restaurant. Vaughan certainly struggles with it – ending up with something between indie fan art and embroidery for embroidery’s sake.

The Arches, Glasgow, until Fri 31 Aug

Karen L Vaughan: I Can't Get That Sound You Make Out Of My Head

The cutting edge of contemporary embroidery, as represented in this superimposition of needlepoint and indie songs.

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