I am not fully known to myself, because part of what I am is the enigmatic traces of others.
-Judith Butler, Precarious Life, 2004
The motion of stitching is pushing and pulling: the needle pierces, the thread is drawn taut. Created to the similar rhythm of leaving and returning, Angela Ellsworth's stitched portraits are made as she travels from one place to another, depicting people she misses and loves, and those who she wishes to meet. With no preliminary sketches, measures of black thread become gestures of memory, and the motion of travel introduces chance and intention.
Guided by the artist's longing for proximity with her subjects, Ellsworth's stitched portraits traverse the distance between introspection and delineation. They are fragile souvenirs from marginal destinations, traces of others inscribed on the skin of a paper napkin. From stitch to stitch, from the raw and recognizable subjects of each portrait's surface to the spontaneous choreography of its verso, Ellsworth's needle and thread become a performance exploring the human condition; the uncontrollable motion of desire that connects past to present.
-Monograph by Megan Bates for Stitch Portraits publication by Angela Ellsworth, 2009