last chance

Susan Stainman. In The Family of Things

25 May 2024 – 23 Jun 2024

Regular hours

12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00

Save Event: Susan Stainman. In The Family of Things

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A.I.R. Gallery

New York
New York, United States


Travel Information

  • Subway: F to York Street, A or C to High Street, 2 or 3 to Clark Street
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A.I.R. Gallery is pleased to announce New York Member Susan Stainman’s new exhibition, In The Family of Things, which draws its title from the Mary Oliver poem Wild Geese. Stainman uses the poem’s themes of finding connection and one’s place in the world as a guidepost for exploring the inevitable challenges, shared experiences, and joys that parenthood creates. Unfolding over several distinct stages, In the Family of Things contains large embroidered fabric works, a communal seating area, and a workstation for the artist to continue the project throughout the exhibition period.

The multifaceted piece starts with a hotline for parents to anonymously share in the high and low moments of parenting. They can leave voicemails or texts as a method of catharsis, solidarity, or encouragement for themselves and other parents. Alternatively, they can listen to messages left by other participants. As messages come in, Stainman begins translating them into embroidery patterns based on the contents of what each caller conveys. Taking cues from encoding techniques as well as antique cross stitch and embroidery patterns, these patterns vary by design depending upon topic and by color depending on emotional content. Topics covered often by participants—such as feeding, sleeping, and labor—create the edge designs, while topics covered less often are embroidered as flowers and plants in the center of each work. Though some of the embroidery will be done prior to the exhibition opening, much of the work will be done during gallery hours throughout the exhibition run, allowing the installation to grow and evolve. The embroidered fabric will be hung high on the walls of the gallery and drape over a seating arrangement—a communal upholstered piece of furniture—so that visitors can recline under the thoughts and feelings of this community of parents. 

In The Family of Things is a natural extension of Stainman’s interdisciplinary practice centering embodied moments of intimacy, connection, and interdependence. Her ideas stem from her mindfulness practice; she is interested in the small gestures and sensorial moments of life that manifest our interconnectedness: holding someone’s hand, a touch on the arm, a hug, or a conversation. Her soft sculptures, photography, installations, and events make physically tangible these often overlooked or forgotten moments.

As Stainman states about one of the primary sources of inspiration for the work: 

While my art practice has focused on intimacy and connection for the last several years, the birth of my son this past December has given me a new perspective. To be a new parent is to be full of intense and often contradictory emotions almost all the time. This project and body of work is inspired by this period in my life and my desire for connection with other parents in similar situations. It is through this project that I am coming to better understand myself and the individual nuances and universal quality of this experience.

The artist hopes that the public will enjoy engaging in the process as well as seeing the outcome of this unique work.

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Susan Stainman


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