ELLEN SCOTT stitches a mythic tale in her fabric collage LOTTERY, part of her exhibition Sewing Stories: Fabric Collages now on view at the Weston Art Gallery. Scott's appliqué technique allows her to reminisce about a favorite Mexican pastime, the Loteria, a game similar to bingo but uses cards with images. The announcer calls out a riddle to identify the image on the card.
Scott places her fabric collage in an elaborate Mexican-style tin frame like a shadow box giving the collage a theatrical element. Eight Loteria cards span the length of the work, bearing images of the moon, the heart, the Apache, the cactus, the bird, the mermaid, the rose and the boot. The cards carry symbolic meaning but also call up the Loteria riddles.
La Luna, el farol de enamorados: the Moon, the lantern of lovers. Thus the moon lights the way to the heart. But the heart's meaning might be lost in translation. No me extrañes corazón que regreso en el camión: Don't miss me, heart, because I will return in a truck.
What's that supposed to mean?
Scott patches on other messages that can be read loud and clear. Te Amo Mucho: I love you very much, a tiny banner reads. And there is another Loteria card of the heart, being trampled by a horse.
A patch showing two crossed bows symbolizes friendship in Native American tradition. Another Native American symbol of brotherhood is the "pow wow" patch. The original native word is "pau-wau," a kind of healing ceremony between leaders of various tribes.
The cactus provides basic sustenance, while a blue rose gives hope in the face of unattainable love. Historic Highway 66 promises adventure, but the mermaid provides a kind of siren's song warning travelers, "Don't get dizzy with the songs of the mermaid."
"Lottery" weaves a story of chance using embroidery, patches, buttons and malagras. There exists the possibility of great fame and fortune for the players of the Loteria. But for those who do not seek material gain there is the allure of adventure, love and even enlightenment as a beaded Buddha reminds us.
Part of the exhibition Fabric Collages, "Lottery" continues through Nov. 10 at the Weston Art Gallery.
FOCAL POINT turns a critical lens on a singular work of art. Through Focal Point we slow down, reflect on one work and provide a longer look.