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DIEDRICK BRACKENS + ROBERT BARSAMIAN
ANTHONY SONNENBERG
at Conduit Gallery through October 10

Myth can be a powerful delivery system for truth, ask Diedrick Brackens. His textiles now at
Conduit Gallery were inspired by a story about quilts. During the our nation’s pre-civil war
era, slaves and underground railroad participators would embed messages in their quilts,
blankets, and other textiles to help escaped slaves navigate their way north.
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Though this story sounds plausible, Bracken couldn’t find a scrap of evidence to back up this story
he had heard. Yet the story inspired his own code making in his art. I think it is hard to pin down
an oral tradition society that was trying to keep their activities secret from their oppressors. Clearly
messages were passed in songs and other activities. Slave made textiles, most were not literate,
but yet aware of symbolic language. Unfortunately, gathering first account evidence is impossible
now, so it is up to the artists, novelists, and poets to make sense of this myth and even play with
creating new meanings.  
Codes and messages in textiles have had a long and rich history. Ships have used flags to
communicate with other ships. Clothes have indicated social status or some kind of

Diedrick Brackens - Untitled 2015 hand woven fabric; cotton dyed with tea and
commerical dyes, and nylon yarns 88"x82"

Diedrick Brackens -  is it noticeable 2015
Diedrick Brackens, leave the soil behind the ear -
for aa, 2015,  hand woven and sewn fabric,  cotton
dyed with wine and commercial dyes, nylon, and
acrylic yarn, spray paint 48 x 23 inches
Robert Barsamian, Shadow Chasers, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 9.5x21 inches
Anthony Sonnenberg, Clock, 2015, porcelain over Manganese bearing
stoneware, found ceramic tchotchkes, silk flowers, and glaze,
18x15.5x11.5"