With her new project, funded by a grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council, Jo Hamilton begins to chronicle in yarn the people, residents, volunteers, staff of Our House of Portland, a residential AIDS care facility in SE where she has been a volunteer for the last ten years. The first portrait is Dr. ‘Sir’ Steven, a resident at the facility for almost eight years, who passed away in 2012. The aim of this project and the ensuing portrait series is to celebrate and capture in yarn the faces of real people in the Portland community whose lives are affected by HIV and AIDS, and to begin a body of work echoing the tradition of the AIDS quilt, in which art and craft stitch together the compelling stories surrounding the AIDS pandemic.
Jo’s work will be on display in Q Center’s Library from November 1-30, 2014. Q Center is located at 4115 N Mississippi Avenue and is open Monday through Friday from 11am to 9pm, Saturday 10am to 6pm and Sunday from 10am to 9pm.
Jo is a Scottish-born artist currently living and working in Portland, Oregon. She graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in the 1990s with a degree in drawing and painting before moving to the United States. A decade ago she traded paint and a brush for yarn and a hook. She creates her large scale works one knot at a time using no graphs or patterns. The knotted yarn, so familiar in everyday life, takes the place of paint and allows her to examine the categories and conventions of western fine art as well as traditional craft, and to reinvent them. Her work has been shown in Portland, Seattle, New York, Washington D.C. and Paris.