Orly Cogan’s Embroidery Art is Empowering

Orly Cogan’s embroidery artworks evolve from personal mythologies and are inspired by relationships. Working with vintage fabrics, as well as found embroideries made by women of previous eras, Cogan acts as a collaborator, modernizing their traditional work and altering its original purpose. After 20 years of collecting vintage fabrics, Cogan has accumulated quite a sizeable collection that serves as the basis for her work.

“The fabric becomes the foundation for a fantastical exploration,” writes Cogan on her website. “Through my own hand stitching, I update the content of the vintage embroidery to incorporate the unladylike reality and wit of contemporary women; their struggles and the stereotypes which must now be overcome. These struggles are in all probability very different from those of the earlier generation of women who originally embroidered the textiles to ‘feminize’ their homes.”

Born in Israel and educated at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in NYC and The Maryland Institute College of Art, Cogan has been exhibiting her work throughout the US and in Europe and has been at the forefront of the fiber arts movement with an emphasis on Feminism in contemporary art.

Much of her subject matter touches upon storytelling concerning fertility, power plays in relationships, self-image, isolation, vulnerability, and beauty in the mundane. “I am drawn to the space between–dichotomies such as soft and tough, dirty and clean, fantasy and reality, especially as related to gender,” she writes.

The finished product is both delicate and powerful, decorative and thought-provoking. Take a look for yourself.