Artist Statement

I use textile crafts to explore masculinity’s conflicting messages, and I typically use the embroidery sampler form to document how I’ve been educated to be a man in US society and to document memories. My more recent active shooter / school shooting pieces (“run, hide, fight”) are my next generation samplers: I worked in educational institutions, in which we were trained on how to respond to active shooter situations, and these pieces document my ongoing education.


Selected Solo Exhibits

Strategies for Survival. Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, WA, USA, June 10, 2016-January 15, 2017.

Black and Blue. Sacramento Temporary Contemporary Gallery, Sacramento, CA, USA, September 12-29, 2013.

An Early Sampling. Alumni Hall Gallery, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, USA, February 1-August 1, 2013. Curators: Sharon Bliss and Mark Johnson.

Thread of Masculinity, v. 2.0. Ridley Gallery, Sierra College, Rocklin, CA, USA, October 17-November 4, 2011. Curators: James Devore and Johnnie Terry.

Manmade. Evolve the Gallery, Sacramento, CA, USA, June 9-25, 2011 (extended to July 9, 2011). Curators: Brady and Michelle Blakeley.

Selected Interviews

Majkut, K. "Interview with Artist Bren Ahearn" by Co-Curator Katrina Majkut for the Art Exhibition Armed Disposal. Summer 2020.

Crowder, D. "Bren Ahearn: Spin Me a Tale." TextileArtist.org, July 20, 2016.

Crowder, D. "Bren Ahearn: Artists That Inspire." TextileArtist.org, April 7, 2017.

Diaz, J. "Interview with Artist Bren Ahearn." Anti-Heroin Chic, August 19, 2016.

Jarque, F. "Puntadas de doble filo." El País Semanal, December 1, 2015. (Note: my interview text appears in the sidebar.)

Hightower, M. "The Big 5-0! An Interview with Bren Ahearn, Fiber Artist." Mixed Remnants, September 10, 2014.

Chalmers, J. "eMbroidery – Bren Ahearn." Mr. X Stitch, May 22, 2011.

Selected Reviews of Shows and Work (Contact me for a full list)

Upchurch, M. "Artist confronts gun violence, gender roles through embroidery." Seattle Times, July 11, 2016.

Ea, A. "Artist Feature: Bren Ahearn." Bellevue Arts Museum Teen Arts Council blog, January 9, 2017.

Sommerfeld, S. "The Top Things to See or Do in Seattle: June 2016." Seattle Met magazine, June 2016, p. 98.

Catalani, S. "Codes of Conduct." Surface Design Journal, Summer 2013, pp. 22-27.

Selected Press (Contact me for a full list)

Kost, R. "Queer art exhibition explores shaping force of 'A History of Violence.'" San Francisco Chronicle, June 12, 2018.

Le, A.-M. "'It's Our Way of Resisting': An unlikely South Bay museum taps into a wellspring of pain over gun violence." San Francisco Magazine, April 2018, pp. 30-31.

Blume, L.B. and Weatherston, R. "Queering the Campus Gender Landscape Through Visual Arts Praxis." In Mapping Queer Space(s) of Praxis and Pedagogy, Queer Studies and Education (McNeil, E. et al., eds.), 2018, pp. 71-103.

Hochberger, C. "7 Artworks Taking a Stance on Gun Violence." Artspace, December 4, 2017.

Sinner, L. "On Display: Bren Ahearn: Strategies for Survival." Surface Design Journal, Vol. 40(2), Summer 2016, p. 68.

"Datebook: Bren Ahearn's Work on Gender and Masculinity at Bellevue Arts Museum, Washington" on Blouin ArtInfo, September 5, 2016.

Musterman, B. "Bren Ahearn: Strategies for Survival." Let's Talk Art with BrookePodcast, September 1, 2016.

"Shows to See." American Craft, August/September 2016. Vol 76(4), pp. 16-17.

"The Week in Craft: July 20, 2016." American Craft Council, July 20, 2016.

Murray, R. "Bellevue Arts Museum Exhibit Explores Gender Roles, Homophobia and Violence." Eastside Scene, June 24, 2016, pp.9, 12.

"Emotionally charged, tongue-in-cheek samplers by Bren Ahearn at Belleveue Arts Museum" on ArtDaily, June 11, 2016.

Seattle Met Staff. "The Top Things to Do This Weekend: June 9-12." Seattle Met, June 9, 2016.

Nath, G. "Men who picked up the needle." Deccan Herald, September 20, 2015.

Design Showcase 2011: Armchair Quarterback by Doug Brown and Bren Ahearn." Apartment Therapy, September 23, 2011.

Selected Presentations/Panels (Contact me for a full list)

Bren Ahearn: 1964-2020. Desert Weavers and Spinners, September 23, 2020.

Art Speaks: Pride Virtual Panel. Textile Center, Minneapolis, MN, July 23, 2020.

Description of Pieces in Armed Disposal Show. Victori + Mo, New York, NY, USA, May 28, 2020.

Artists' Talk: Our Thoughts and Prayers are with You. Carl Cherry Center for the Arts, Carmel, CA, USA, October 5, 2019.

Artist Talk: Bren Ahearn. Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, WA, USA, November 4, 2016.

Selected Group Exhibits (Contact me for a full list)

Continuing Education Annual Juried Exhibition. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA, USA, June 26-July 23, 2023. Jurors: Colleen O'Donnell, Deon Robinson.

Continuing Education Annual Juried Exhibition. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA, USA, June 23-July 17, 2022. Juror: Jill Rupinski.

Text in Art. LightSpace Gallery, USA, 2022. Curator: Rebecca Giles.

Uncertain Times. La Quinta Museum, La Quinta, CA, USA (ongoing virtual exhibit from September 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Curator: Sharla Fox. (Here is a link to a video about my work.)

PRIDE. Textile Center, Minneapolis, MN, USA, July 7-September, 2020. Curator: Tracy Krumm. (Here is a link to the virtual show.)

Armed Disposal. Victori and Mo, New York, NY, USA, May 7-August 1, 2020. Curators: Celine Mo and Katrina Majkut. (Here is a link to the virtual show.)

The Power of Words. Coachella Valley Art Center, Indio, CA, USA, March 13-April 10, 2020. Curator: Bill Schinsky.

Our Thoughts and Prayers are with You. Carl Cherry Center for the Arts, Carmel, CA, USA, October 4-November 16, 2019. Curator: Jan Wurm.

A History of Violence. SOMArts, San Francisco, CA, USA, June 7-29, 2018. Curator: Rudy Lemcke.

Guns: Loaded Conversations. San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, San Jose, USA, April 22-July 15, 2018. Curator: Amy DiPlacido.

Social Fabric/Moral Fiber. Gallery West, Grant Campus of Suffolk County Community College, Brentwood, NY, USA, February 14-March 30, 2017. Curators: Leila Daw and Michaelann Tostanoski (catalog: pp. 4, 6).

(De) Constructing Identity. Greenly Gallery, Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, PA, USA, November 4-December 5, 2016. Curator: David Kube.

Beyond the Surface. San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, San Jose, CA, USA, January 6-February 28, 2016. Curator: Deborah Corsini.

Needle's Eye. Contemporary Embroidery. National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, Norway, February 21, 2015-May 16, 2015. Curators: Anne Kjellberg (Oslo), Knut Bull (Oslo).

Needle's Eye. Contemporary Embroidery. Kode, Art Museums of Bergen, Bergen Norway, October 10, 2014-January 4, 2015. Curators: Frode Sanvik (Bergen), Anne Britt Ylvisaaker (Bergen) (catalog: pp. 48-49).

Scythia 10. Local Lore Museum, Kherson, Ukraine, June 18-28, 2014. Curators: Ludmila Egorova and Andrew Schneider (catalog: p. 10).

Fibremen 3. Local Lore Museum, Kherson, Ukraine, October 23-November 5, 2013. Curator: Ludmila Egorova (catalog: pp. 6-9).

Crocker-Kingsley. Blue Line Gallery, Roseville, CA, USA. November 17, 2012-January 5, 2013. Curator: Michael Duncan.

Pop-up Museum of Queer History – Philadelphia. William Way Community Center, Philadelphia, PA, USA, April 21-May 19, 2012. Curators: Buzz Slutzky et al.

Behind the Mask: Women, Men & Masculinities. Loranger Art and Architecture Center, University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, MI, USA and LeBel Art Gallery, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, Canada. February 27-March 10, 2012. Curators: Libby Balter Blume, Ph.D., C.F.L.E. and Allegra Pitera.

Design Shibori, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, France, October 27-November 8, 2008 (catalog: pp. 22-23).

Immediate Future: The 2008 Murphy & Cadogan Fellowships in the Fine Arts, San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, San Francisco, CA, USA, September 6-October 18, 2008. Curators: Dana Hemenway and Meg Shiffler.

The Fabric of Cultures: Fashion, Identity, Globalization, Museum of Craft and Folk Art, San Francisco, CA, USA, February 15-April 27, 2008. Curator: Amy Winter, Ph.D.

Selected Awards

First Place Award for Sampler #11, Politically Charged Show, 2014. Curator: Shelly Willis, Director, Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission.

SFSU Graduate Student Award for Distinguished Achievement, 2010.

Murphy & Cadogan Fellowship in the Fine Arts (Sponsor: San Francisco Foundation), 2008.


San Francisco State University (SFSU), San Francisco, CA, USA
Master of Fine Arts in Textiles, 2010.

Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey, CA, USA
Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, 1991.

University of Pennsylvania Wharton School and College of Arts and Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Bachelor of Science in Economics and Bachelor of Arts in English, 1986.