a watcher's skin
vacant looking, hand embroidery on cotton pillow case, 14x18, 2016
The experience of growing up within a Russian Mennonite Community in Canada has deeply impacted Dayna Riemland’s work. Learning from an early age the craft of embroidery and needlepoint, she explores how tradition and its associated formalities and motifs can be combined with the ghosts of a collective history that has become preoccupied with the past.
Riemland sees these ghosts as immaterial forces, deep senses of longing and loss carried forward in the personal narratives passed down from previous generations. The inheritance of traditional conventions often makes little room for the more private emotional realities of the past, and so Riemland seeks to give form to these ghosts. Embroidery as an act creates a devotional surface for Riemland, taking old fabric remnants (handkerchiefs, gloves, bed sheets and pillowcases) and laboring over their surface, common decorative motifs such as flowers become frames for unblinking wide eyes. Eyes, hands, and various other figural fragments occupy Riemland’s embroideries. These forms becomes points of connection, where Riemland’s learned traditions can be utilized to make spaces of visibility for these specters of loss she feels so occupied by.
Dayna Riemland currently lives and works in Catharines, Ontario Canada. In 2015 she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) with a focus in print making from Queens University (Kingston, ON) and recently graduated with her MFA in Studio Art from the Maine College of Art in 2017.