This Artist Spoke Truth To Power — Through Embroidery

by Victoria Albert


Edith Isaac-Rose — artist, teacher, and founder of Art Workshop International — passed away earlier this year on January 20, 2018. After graduating from The Art Institute of Chicago in 1951, Isaac-Rose began her career as an abstract expressionist — but her most famous work was her series of political criticism entitled “Daily Rage,” which she began in 1987. Drawing inspiration from the daily newspaper, the series featured drawings, paintings, and embroidery that depicted our nation’s corrupt upper class and its victims. Isaac-Rose didn’t hold back: Her work denounced the prison system, militarism, and the treatment of prisoners in Abu Ghraib.

“For a very long time I’ve been aware of images that are almost the same the world over: men in suits (whether allies, competitors or political enemies), dress and gesture in similar ways–they carry brief-cases, shake hands, wave and salute, acting out their parts in the theater of power,” she said in a description of her 1990 painting “Cronies.” “These leaders often violate the earth and the people who live on it. These paintings address that violation.”

Isaac-Rose’s work provided a forceful response to power and its machinations, and neither it nor she will be forgotten. See more below:

“Cronies,” Oil

Isaac Rose 5 5ef32“Waiting,” Embroidery

Isaac Rose 9 767ed“Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe” (The Luncheon On The Grass), Mixed Media

Isaac Rose 15 e9534“Dancing With Wolves,” Embroidery


Isaac Rose 13 1c58d“Leaving Eden,” Oil


Isaac Rose 6 7a83f“Daily Rage 2,” Embroidery

Photos courtesy of Charles Kreloff. Isaac-Rose’s full collection can be viewed on her website. 

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