Tell A Yarn

Yarn has visited some genuine horrors upon the planet: god-awful afghans, the kind of scarves you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy, toilet paper cozies.

But in Annie Greene's outrageously charming works on view in The Farm in Yarn at the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art, yarn evokes the artist's memories of her childhood summers in the '40s on her grandparents Adel, Ga., farm. A kind of crafty Laura Ingalls Wilder who works in both yarn and anecdotal history, Greene offers windows into another age. Her work is accompanied by wall text chronicling the Proustian-sense memories of childhood and the social history of a self-sufficient farm life defined by family, where everything was grown, built or made by hand.

Nostalgia is a powerful force in The Farm in Yarn - a nostalgia for the simple paradise of a lost rural life and for childhood itself. Greene is in her 70s now, but her character was deeply shaped by the childhood experiences she recounts.

Greene first sketches on watercolor paper, and then fills in her images with fragments of yarn glued to the picture surface. The scenes are of cotton harvesting, porch sitting, trips to town, flagging down the train, going to the carnival and the myriad chores and small outings that a child's eyes transform from quotidian reality into something magical. Greene's works are folksy and quaint, but they also show her familiarity with art history in her nods to Seurat pointillism and Van Gogh's swirling skies. The works are often astoundingly detailed, rendering the gradations in a wooden floor or the silhouettes of people sitting on her grandparents' porch, glimpsed through a screened window.

Because it is the rural South in the 1940s, there are also references to segregated movie houses and other signs of trouble in paradise. But segregation is not what colors Greene's perspective of this world. As with many children, Greene is not defined by the nastiness of adult behavior, but by her tightly knit family, life which provided a buffer against it.


The Farm in Yarn: Paintings and Stories by Annie Greene is on view through May 1 at Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art, 30 Atlanta St., Marietta. Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., 1-5 p.m. 770-528-1444. www.mariettacobbartmuseum.org.??

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