Jennifer Markowitz, Dublin, Ireland,  January-June 2004, detail

Fleshmap My Unraveling Geographies

Jennifer Markowitz // December 3 - February 13, 2022

In each of us, there is a secret landscape that contains the parts of ourselves we chose to abandon before they killed us. This show contains images of bipolar disorder, but it is not only about mental illness.

In 2006, I bought a large, blue suitcase to take back to England with me, where I had started grad school a year earlier. I used the suitcase to move the rest of my belongings from the US. Since then, it has accompanied me back and forth several times between England, Mexico, Iceland, Lebanon, and Chicago. In 2016, I packed it once more and moved to Raleigh. By then, it was barely a suitcase.

In my first phase of this series (Fleshmap: My Embroidered Bipolar Geographies, 2019), I used thread to circumnavigate the geography of memory. In 16 different panels, I mapped a life frequently interrupted by Bipolar Disorder. 

In Fleshmap: My Unraveling Geographies, I revisited the previous maps, trying to reshape them from personal narratives into visceral objects of memory. I also continued with this system by filling in some time gaps between the years of 1985 and 2010 and then, finally, mapping 2016–2018 in Raleigh. I located that place that holds the pieces of me I have recently abandoned in order to live. 

This place I’ve mapped holds some brutal memories from which I’ve tried to excavate myself. It also contains much of what I loved in ways too dangerous to control: the power of mania, men who loved a version of me that was not always me, directing theatre, the use of my body in ways that were electrifying but always unsustainable. I’ve spent the past four years cutting pieces from me. Eventually, they drifted to that place and landed like ash. I am the skeleton of a suitcase searching for a new use.


Please note that this show has mature content.

In each of us, there is a secret landscape that contains the parts of ourselves we chose to abandon before they killed us.

Related Programming

Mindful Mending Class for ages 16+

Saturday December 11, 12-2pm

Using a garment or heirloom as a foundation, textile artist and Artspace Studio artist Jennifer Markowitz (Studio 109a) will teach you how to use embroidery to mend and embellish. $45 members / $55 non-members

Fiber Folks for ages 16+

Wednesday January 19, 6-8pm

Join us for a monthly gathering of fiber folks at Artspace! Fiber artists of all kinds and experience levels are invited to join this group, which provides space to work on your projects in community. Free! Please register so that we may anticipate attendance.

Jennifer Markowitz is a textile artist in Raleigh, NC. Her work has been shown at Artspace, The Nasher Museum, Frank Gallery, CAM Raleigh, Dayton Society of Artists, St. Louis Art Guild, Block Gallery, VAE Raleigh, The National Humanities Center and the Weems Art Gallery. She is a two-time recipient of the United Arts Career Development Grant and was a 2020 Emerging Artist in Residence at Artspace. She was also a Brightwork Fellow at Anchorlight where her first solo exhibition, Fleshmap: My Bipolar Embroidered Geographies, showed in November 2019.

Before turning to textiles, Jennifer spent 25 years directing environmental theatre throughout the US, Scotland, Ireland, Israel and England, where she received an MA in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Warwick. She has taught Psychogeography, Performance Theory, Site-Based theatre and Postdramatic Theatre in the UK at the universities of Warwick, Birmingham, Manchester, Portsmouth and Plymouth. In the US, she has taught theatre classes at DePaul University, Columbia College Chicago and University of Notre Dame and embroidery classes at Artspace and Meredith College.

Jennifer Markowitz, Manic Episode, Chicago, 2013-2014, detail

Jennifer Markowitz, Chicago, 1989-1991, detail.