Born in Concord, Massachusetts, she was first introduced to art by way of her grandmother, an artist with a penchant for re-creating works by Marc Chagall. Narrett would go on to study painting, but an encounter just before graduate school (she earned her MFA at the A womans place is in the house and the senate shirt What’s more,I will buy this Rhode Island School of Design) solidified her future in textiles.“The most intense experience that I’ve had with a tapestry was seeing The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries in Paris,” she says. (The beguiling Flemish series, six wall hangings now under the care of the Musée de Cluny, date to the 16th century. Each is understood as an allegory for the five senses, with the last, mysterious tapestry devoted to love and earthly pleasures.) “I remember standing in front of them, feeling like they were just imbued with the human spirit,” Narrett continues. “They were these incredible, magical objects, embodying and describing desire. When I saw them, I had been working in embroidery for a little over two years. They really helped me understand why textiles felt so right for me to explore my own ideas of desire.”
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Narrett describes her working habits as nocturnal. She sews into the A womans place is in the house and the senate shirt What’s more,I will buy this smaller hours of the night at her studio, which has an antique charm; there are glass-knobbed doors and knotty hardwood floors below. All around are bins teeming with a colorful chaos of threads dyed every hue possible, along with embroidery hoops in various sizes; some could be mistaken for hula hoops. While she works, she fills the space with media—music, television, podcasts—and sometimes, that content directly informs her embroideries. In a previous series, she incorporated imagery pulled from The Bachelor.“It’s a way of processing popular culture, and this language of images that we’re all inundated with,” she says. “It can be beautiful or funny or problematic or even really disturbing, but I use this visual vocabulary to illustrate my own stories. I repurpose these images in a way that they bring the residue of their initial contexts, but also become something new.”Speaking to the characters that make cameos in her work, Narrett maintains that she’s “making the images she needs to see.” She calls out one work, Whisper Like a Magnet, a piece with all the melodramatic complexities and moody color stories of a Hieronymus Bosch triptych. A woman in a flowing white dress kisses her suitor, while a bare-bottomed woman is positioned to leave nothing to the imagination. Nearby, a panda is similarly postured, crashing waves meld into cloudy skies, and flowers blossom throughout. All at once, it’s perplexing, beautiful, uncomfortable, and perfectly harmonious. Narrett says the various poses of her figures—however sexualized—are meant to evoke the teetering balance of power that romantic relationships are built upon.“What does it mean when one figure is clothed and one is naked?” she asks.“What does it mean when one seems to be in a position of either submission or dominance?” Her new works also bares traces of the pandemic and our contemporary visual culture. In one piece, Through Closed Eyes, she includes windows (an emblem of our housebound state), caution tape, and a face mask.