LowEnd Theories

A project I have been working on in tandem with artist Ryan Swanson will be exhibited as part of LowEnd Theories at Lump Gallery.

LowEnd Theories, curated by Tory Wright, brings together eight artists whose work references craft. The politics of high and low art are present, but not the singular theme. A variety of media referencing traditions of craft such as: yarn, beads, clay and clothing are used to facilitate collaborations, provide evidence of performative acts, and produce constructed objects.

Swanson and Schafer's project came about during a studio visit between the two artists. Recognizing the same found objects in both their work the decision was made to collaborate on an assignment structured project. The two share inspiration and raw materials found at Joanne Fabric and Craft stores, take these to their separate studios and each create a piece.

Molly Schafer
Spell Mirror: good and evil
Fabric, rawhide, golden thread, my cat's fur, threaded beads, ornate gold detail, black feathers
26" x 10"
Ryan Swanson
Style Monster
Digital collage

LowEnd Theories
Lump Gallery
505 S. Blount St.
Raleigh, NC
Opening reception Friday, June 6th from 7 – 10pm
The exhibition will run from June 6 – 28, 2008 and is on view Saturdays from noon - 5pm.


Dave said...

Hey Molly,
I don't know if this is the kind of question that can be answered, but can you say anything about your decisions when to use real vs. synthetic materials? Also, am I right in thinking about the swimsuit liners as faux-human skin?

Harpia harpyja said...

hi dave (weiskopf?) thanks for this comment! i work intuitively based on myriad of ideas, building upon past work and research as well as slyly crafted metaphors and ritual so that i can't really talk about this in human language. but...
just kidding, sorta. i have been trying to figure out how to answer this in a concise way. I started using swimsuit liner back when I was working more with taxidermy. The first piece I made with it I cut the shape of a deer hide out of it,and stretched it on the wall and yes it did function as a stand in for human skin. also went along with weird fetishizing of game animals,etc. I think I am bringing this piece back, maybe I will post a link here to it. The swimsuit liner fabric is so layered in meaning in my work/personal mythology and it has become one of the essential elements/givens/signifier in my work. I think of this as positive.

As far as decisions when to use synthetic vs real...it is a way to built myself into my invented world and also just what I have always known. That by considering something/object to be special it takes on a magical presence. It is something that can be traced back in my work (and life) to the use of decorating as a catalyst for fantasy. I treat crappy dollar store fancy items with a ridiculous love and care. Because when I pick just one of a fungible object and remove it from the others it becomes an individual. When punctuated with the real or slightly grotesque they rise to a different level. The hodgepodge of modern life, multiple cultures/communities I am part of. The deer elements(fur,hide, parts) always have to be real because what they represent includes cruel reality, pain,longing/sadness, the regret i feel after acquiring these things.
Putting together things myself with ease and simplicity is important too. Often it is more about using what I have. I will sacrifice my jewelery to be part of my art, put in some of the fur my cat leaves for me around the house, add elements like I am working a spell. I weave together loose associations, symbols hoping the physical manifestation of "the piece" will enact some type of mystical effect on myself/the universe. Basically I'm a crazy person. Anyway "Just my thoughts man, right or wrong. Just what I was feeling at the time" to quote Jay-Z. Perhaps I will go through artist statements or reviews to find the academic style reasoning.

Dave said...

Thanks! I sometimes feel stupid asking questions about art, like I am just supposed to get it automatically or like it is cheating to ask the artist any questions. I'm more used to words. But I figure I'll never learn anything unless I admit my ignorance.

Oh, and yes, Weiskopf.

Harpia harpyja said...

No way it is not ignorance. Lots of contemporary art needs to be explained, especially to people who didn't go to art school. I think it is cool that you are interested. Ask away.