It's Always Darkest Before the Dawn
"It’s Always Darkest Before the Dawn" was produced in 1999 as one part of "Resolutions: A Stitch In Time," an exhibition created by Judy Chicago with assistance from highly accomplished needleworkers. The nineteen images and one sculpture in "Resolutions" employ a wide variety of techniques, including embroidery, applique, quilting, beading, macrame, smocking, needlework and petitpoint. These are combined with Judy Chicago's painting to push the boundaries between art and craft—between high art and hobby techniques. "It’s Always Darkest Before the Dawn" is the only work in the series in which painting is predominant; nonetheless, as Edward Lucie-Smith has described the piece, the embroidery in the bottom right-hand corner (depicting the flora and fauna of an enduring Garden of Eden) is an important element of the work as “it adds those touches of brilliance and definition that give force to its optimistic message.” Indeed, the two halves of the diptych are a compelling contrast between distressing images of inhumanity and destruction that can nearly overwhelm and images of a brighter future that offer hope and encouragement. As with all the images in "Resolutions," the contrasting images in this piece underscore Chicago’s belief that we can heal one another and our world by mutual adherence to a set of life-affirming ethical principles.