Stephani Martinez & Jessica Tang: Needles in the Camel’s Eye

September 6 – December 18, 2016

Needles in the Camel’s Eye: Stephani Martinez & Jessica Tang
Curated by Modesto Covarrubias & Monica Lundy

Red Poppy Art House Exhibitions proudly presents Needles in the Camel’s Eye featuring work by Bay Area artists Stephani Martinez and Jessica Tang. Both artists utilize the common tool mentioned in the opening song on Brian Eno’s debut solo album, from which the exhibition gets its name. Like the eponymous song, the artists’ work reflects experimentation, the unexpected, and bold display; laced with literary, lyrical, and rhythmic overtones.

Jessica Tang creates works using embroidery, a very time-consuming and detailed method of rendering imagery on fabric. The imagery included in this show depicts young Asian women in suggestive poses. Tang’s GIRL series is produced by placing the body on a brightly colored yet empty space, and removing the subject’s facial features while leaving the dark, black hair. The skin of each “girl” is replaced by traditional Asian textile patterns. The resulting images call into question our notions of stereotypes, exoticism, and identity.

Stephani Martinez’s installations will grow and change over the course of the exhibition. Each is a continuation of previous installations with the same titles. At the Red Poppy Art House, Martinez will continue to alter the pieces by adding, subtracting, and repositioning the materials that make up her seemingly organic sculptural work. The modifying presence challenges our sense of permanence and epitomizes the programming within the Red Poppy Art House itself; it is the same space, but it is refreshed and made anew with each current addition.

The curators, Modesto Covarrubias and Monica Lundy, present these works in the performance space of Red Poppy Art House with an aim to spark a dialogue between music, voice, movement, and the act of seeing. With an interest in how to interact and live with art, the curators seek out work that enlivens and engages the space in which it exists. Covarrubias and Lundy view their exhibitions in the parlor/performance space of the Red Poppy Art House as an opportunity for visual art and performing arts to come together; to feed off of and nourish each other, to inform each other, and to challenge each other in order to create an experience that is greater than the sum of the individual parts.




Stephani Martinez‘s work is a reflection of her observation of nature, its repeating patterns, and the methodical and repetitive aspect of traditional women’s crafts. Her work has been exhibited throughout California at venues including Intersection for the Arts and the Berkeley Art Center. She was honored to be interviewed on KQED’s Gallery Crawl for her show Plume at Hatch Gallery in Oakland. Stephani’s work has been featured at Supernatural in San Francisco and Zughaus Gallery in Berkeley. Martinez received her BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. She resides in Oakland and her studio is located at FM Studios, also in Oakland.
A process
What I observe
What I imagine
What I put together
Watching objects transform
Talking a walk, looking up at the stars
Sitting with materials, and memories, and sounds
To be surrounded and encapsulated by my ideas
Where I no longer exist. I would become the thing that I’ve made
To dissolve into the universe and to become a part of it
A need to put things together
A process
An attraction
I create the things I want to see
Coming from memories and experiences
Stories, history, childhood, family
My Nets, carried out of mythology
Silver, gold
They belong to the night sky
Buttons become stars
Crochet becomes a nebula
It is the gathering and sorting.
It is physical.
It is methodical.
It is deliberate.
It is accidental.
It is ephemeral.
It is the process.
It is the satisfaction of doing.






















Jessica Tang is a first-generation Chinese American artist. Born and raised in San Francisco, she received her BA in Studio Art at Mills College in Oakland in 2013. Before graduating, she studied in Seoul, South Korea, where she witnessed a student crochet herself into a cocoon. Inspired, she started experimenting with fiber and continues regularly working with thread and fabric. Her work has been exhibited throughout the Bay Area, participating in exhibitions at SOMArts in San Francisco, Mills College Art Museum in Oakland, and the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, among other venues. She currently lives and maintains a studio in San Francisco.
Embroidery is versatile in mimicking the original object in shape and design but still distinct enough to be recognized as something else. The stitches are soft but substantial, more tangible.

With embroidery, I explore my Asian-American born identity-the dualism of being too Asian to be American, and too American to be Asian.

In my object series, I recreate familiar Asian American objects that take on the visual identity of the original object but reject said identity due to its material.

In my girl series, I replace the facial identity of suggestively posed Asian women with Asian textile patterns. The patterned skin creates a broader spectrum of Asian identity; it becomes more ambiguous and fluid as identity moves between the two.











Modesto Covarrubias and Monica Lundy collaborate on several curatorial projects, including Studio 5,4 Salon, an event that brings together arts professionals for an evening of lively discourse. They are the San Francisco Bay Area curators of visual arts for Flying Under the Radar Biennial Festival of the Arts, an interdisciplinary lab/festival that facilitates collaborative work between artists of the San Francisco Bay Area and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Both Covarrubias and Lundy maintain their own studio practice, among other projects. Modesto Covarrubias has a BFA in Photography from the San Francisco Art Institute, an MFA in Studio Art from Mills College, and teaches at California College of the Arts. Monica Lundy has a BFA in Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, an MFA in Painting from Mills College, and is represented by Nancy Toomey Fine Art in San Francisco.