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Diedrick Brackens

they spring from the embers of my mouth

On view
Floor 6



Cotton yarn

Overall: 64 × 48 × 1/2in. (162.6 × 121.9 × 1.3 cm)

Accession number

Credit line
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Nancy and David Frej

Rights and reproductions
© Diedrick Brackens


Visual Description

Measuring 64 × 48 × ½ inch, Diedrick Brackens’s they spring from the embers of my mouth is a vertical, geometric double woven textile made of cotton yarn. Beginning at the top, two thin magenta bands span horizontally from edge to edge. Underneath those bands are sections of varying widths in light pink, orange, purple, dark reddish brown, and lime green. The majority of the left side of the textile is magenta until the bottom portion where the magenta is interrupted by the bands of colors seen at the top. To the right of the magenta section are relatively narrow strips of light pink, orange, and purple that run vertically from the top edge to the bottom edge. Two larger sections, one dark reddish brown, and one lime green, also run from top to bottom. In the center of the textile are two thin, outlined rectangles. The larger outer rectangle is dark reddish brown on the left, lime green towards the middle, and magenta on the right. The smaller inner rectangle is evenly divided into lime green on the left and magenta on the right. The rectangles and stripes at the top and bottom of the textile demonstrate Brackens' double-weave textile process, in which two cloths are woven in tandem and the separate warp and weft colors alternate throughout a textile. In the rectangle, the warp and the weft vary completely from the rest of the textile. This, paired with Brackens' vibrant color choice, creates a high contrast abstraction. Towards the bottom of the textile, the bands from the top are repeated in two parallel lines before ending at an uneven frayed edge. Loose threads dangle, suggesting an incompleteness. It should be noted that not all of the panels of the textile appear to be on the same plane. The colors alternate between weft and warp, giving the impression of subtle depth. 

they spring from the embers of my mouth is both a commentary and articulation on the artist’s relationship with genetic ancestry. From the results of a personalized DNA report, Brackens created a set of algorithms reflecting different genetic traits. He then translated and rendered those traits into woven multicolored threads. Through this act of translation and rendering, this abstract textile doubles as something akin to a self-portrait.

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