YiMiao Shih (b. 1985) is a London-based interdisciplinary artist. She holds a MA in Visual Communication from Royal College of Art and a BFA in Fine Art from National Taiwan Normal University. She works innovatively with domestic embroidery machines and hand stitching, creating contemporary ‘embroidery-drawing’, as part of her exploration in the field of expanded drawing. She also works with traditional drawing materials as a supporting agent in the process.
Her work often satirises contemporary culture and politics, as well as capturing the everyday mundane moments in life.
One of her work ‘RABBEXIT (An Homage to Brexit)’ was featured at the 250th Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition. YiMiao’s first London solo exhibition and six-month residency ‘YiMiao Shih: Rabbrexit Means Rabbrexit’, House of Illustration, London (2019), involved production of a series of new works in mixed media, drawing together YiMiao’s real-world observations of the nationalistic fervour, economic uncertainty and fragmentation of societal bonds brought about by Brexit. Her recent solo show ‘YiMiao Shih and her curious subjects’, Bloomsbury Gallery, London (2022) showcases her continued exploration in the field of expanded drawing.
Group shows include: Koppel X Gallery (2023); ING Discerning Eye Exhibition (2022); Mall Galleries, Sunday Times Watercolour Competition (2019); Poster Prize, London Transport Museum (2019); Seventeen Gallery (2019);
250th Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition (2018); CICA Museum, Korea (2018); Street Road Artists Space, USA (2017); Saatchi Gallery, London (2016).
Shih is currently an associate lecturer at the Royal College of Art and lecturer at London College of Communication, UAL. She recently received Develop Your Creative Practice grant from Arts Council England, and was invited by 1B Window Gallery in east London for a solo show in Spring 2024.
Artist Statement: on Embroidery-Drawing
During the past five years, my core practice has been about the investigation in expanded drawing with the medium of threads and fabric. I converse my thoughts and findings of what is drawing and what consists of the nature of drawings with stitching lines. The way each stitched line is introduced onto the fabric serves a purpose, and is manipulated by me in order to narrate some form of mark making nature. I defined my work as ‘embroidery-drawing’, of which the logic and key concept is fundamentally the debate of ‘what is drawing’. These ‘embroidery-drawing’ I created in the past years have been focused on image-making and narrative building, which is constructed by the composition, juxtaposition between the real world and my imagination.
The ‘embroidery-drawing’ narrates the strength of line-drawing. In practice, I produce a mix of short and long stitches to articulate the energy and gesture which reflect the hand-drawn movement. From a distance, the ‘embroidery-drawing’ seems like a painted image, but it is composed with ‘threaded-drawn lines’. A false drawing appearance is another speculation I like to tease with these carefully created lines. The relationship can be seen between the paper and embroidery work in the Landscape Study series: The work on paper dissects the movement and elements of stitching lines, and the ‘embroidery-drawing’ examines the movement of line marks, differentiating itself from traditional textile. The work on paper in my practice manifests imagination and inquiry for my ‘embroidery-drawing’ work, also for building surreal narratives that are composed between reality and my pseudo self taking the form as a fictional character.