Thread Hijack

Curated by Mary Birmingham

Natasha Das, Pink, (detail), 2019, Oil and thread on canvas 60 x 36 inches Courtesy of the artist and Gross McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia
October 2, 2022 - January 8, 2023

A thread is a tangible object—a long, thin strand of fiber used for sewing or weaving; it is essential in the construction and decoration of textiles. But a thread can also be a theme or idea that runs through a conversation, a piece of writing, or even historical events. This meaning has evolved on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit, where a thread is a string of messages that makes up a conversation. Begun with a single post, an online thread continues as a series of replies or comments. A “thread hijacking” occurs when one or more individuals lead the conversation away from the original topic, taking it in a new direction and creating a separate conversation.

This exhibition explores what happens when artists take thread in new and interesting directions, away from its original utilitarian purpose. The six artists in Thread Hijack employ thread as an artmaking material or tool to expand or replace conventional mediums such as drawing, painting, collage, and printmaking. They use thread to draw a line, compose a shape, record a gesture, or glue elements together. Several stitch directly on paper using commercial sewing machines or hand sewing. Others innovate with needle and thread to make marks on a painted canvas. They all exploit the tension between fragility and strength that is intrinsic to thread. With their shadows and shifting colors and intriguing surface textures, the paintings and works on paper in Thread Hijack are visually seductive and invite a closer look.  

Participating artists are Abdolreza Aminlari, Caroline Burton, Natasha Das, Jessie Henson, Holly Miller, and Raymond Saá.

Natasha Das, Pink,(detail), 2019, Oil and thread on canvas 60 x 36 inches Courtesy of the artist and Gross McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia

Learn More About Thread Hijack from Guest Curator Mary Birmingham


Tris McCall reviews Thread Hijack on

Adventures in embroidery: ‘Thread Hijack’ at Hunterdon Art Museum showcases consistent creativity

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