Four women artists are showing work focused on two trends — fashion and music — as part of two separate shows opening Friday in Lincoln. For Lincoln artist Meghan Stratman, art and music are intertwined. So much so that each piece in her Gallery 9 show of new work Louder than Sirens is based on a song title. Stratman’s sweet, intricate work features delicate cutout female figures experiencing any variety of scenarios. “I like music that tells stories,” Stratman said, “and I like making my own stories that go with the lyrics.” That’s what she’s done here. In “Among the Roots and Baby’s Breath, I Covered Us with Silver Leaves,” a slim girl in a shift stands covered with layers of silver, gold and white flowers. Two birds perch in the floral nest. The piece’s intricacy hits first, and the details appear in layers, like the piece itself. Each section of the girl’s hat is individually sliced, and her 10 tiny toes are each separately cut. Texture comes into play through the paper, which is lined with stripes, stamped with patterns and sometimes finished with metallic. Delicate lips and dark-circled eyes are rendered with lines and smudges of black. In another piece, “Our Ghosts Who Wander All Of The Water,” Stratman mounted a delicate collage onto a background of a board; these three dimensional works, she said, are the ones she’s particularly proud of. A girl floats next to a boat — complete with studded porthole — one of her shoes gone. A bird flies above, its bones visible in a sort of two-dimensional x-ray. Tiny details stand out the most in this work. Stratman edges dress hems with diluted watercolor, cuts out tiny hair bows, carefully renders shiny ruby lips, eventually giving each individual woman an individual personality and character. Stratman said she didn’t think viewers would have to know the music to understand or enjoy the show, though with a diverse list of song titles used by artists like David Bowie, Muse, Neko Case, Tom Petty, Queen and the Decemberists — who show up in quite a few pieces — it won’t be a stretch, anyway. This is Stratman’s second solo show at Gallery 9 and her third in the city; she’s one to watch. At Tugboat Gallery, three female artists — Lincoln-based Mary Pattavina, Kansas-based Erika Eden and Los Angeles- based Erica Tremblay — will show work that melds fine art, fashion and craft as part of Whipstitch . Pattavina has shown her handmade hats in Lincoln. This time she’s finding inspiration in magic. The hats often include glamorous materials — feathers, silk, satin, velvet and glittery bits — and her one of a kind pieces fall somewhere between wearable and whimsical. A few of the current offerings on her Web site, Pretty Good Things, include a fascinator shaped like a rain cloud complete with crystal raindrops, a pink pillow shaped fascinator adorned with rooster feathers, and a black, net-covered pillbox hat with a cascade of turquoise ruffles down the center. A series called “Animal Kingdom” features tiny birds, deer, dinosaurs and even a gorilla perched on headbands, just waiting to adorn the head of a fashionably adventurous woman. Erika Eden combines stitchery with painting, resulting in a textured and multi-leveled style. Fabric like silk and gauze meet her watercolors on paper, and she stitches it all together with a rainbow of thread colors. Animals and nature are at the forefront of her work. Owls peep out from a triptych called “Wandering, Pondering Fowl.” Floral backgrounds, leaves and seeds are stitched together in a number of her more abstract works; the more intricate she gets and the more layers added, the better the work looks. Los Angeles artist Erica Tremblay’s mother taught her how to embroider and cross-stitch at a very young age; she grew up around embroidery that her great grandmother did around the turn of the century. “As a child, I was fascinated by the stories that could be told with embroidery,” Tremblay said. “In my family, it’s a rite of passage to learn how to (embroider.)” Her work embraces the traditional old skill of stitch work and the meticulous detail that comes with it, but achieves a decidedly modern result. Images include tattooed fists, pairs of pretty girls embracing, Eames chairs, animals, robots and even the Notorious B.I.G. rendered on a tote bag. She said she seeks to preserve the beauty of the craft. “I think people have perceived ideas about embroidery and think of it as a stuffy thing that only old ladies do,” Tremblay said. “For me, it is all about redefining embroidery and making it modern, while still holding onto the nature and nuance of traditional embroidery.” Whipstitch opens Friday, March 4 with a reception at Tugboat Gallery, 116 N. 14th St., and continues through March 26. Louder than Sirens opens Friday, March 4 with a reception from 6:30–9:30 p.m. at Gallery 9, 124 S. 9th St.

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