Rusting Brains Make Pretty Places: a Painting SIP

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Sheldon, Sara
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Artist’s Statement: “Hanging at the center of each gallery wall, at a sixty-inch eye level, my work follows a tradition of exhibiting art in the "white cube." These pieces, each representative of a map or landscape that has been influential to my artistic and intellectual growth, are mounted on squares and rectangles, frames that undeniably reference stretcher bars under a painting, and highlight the artistic traditions of the academy. These artistic traditions constitute the foundation in my work, from which I depart in my use of recycled materials. In this work I use recycled metal cans as my canvas, incorporating several techniques that mimic the fluidity of cloth and paint. Here, I seek to challenge myself, and the viewer, to think about materials outside of their traditional use and harmonize what is taught with what is intuitive. I learned the technique of metal stitching from Kota Otieno during my studies in Kenya. The most obvious use of this technique is seen in "Kuona." As I began to understand and control the material, I gained freedom to develop my own techniques employed in my other three pieces. The basis of this control lies within the process of preparing my materials, as it is very specific and robotic. Each can must be collected, cut, burned, flattened, hemmed, and hammered before anything can be created. As it is a process that is so heavily structured, it pushes me to work intuitively as I create the artwork, allowing me to experiment with organic and fluid forms that contradict the rigid nature of my materials. While my work began as an intuitive experiment, it has evolved in to a body of work that reflects my process of deconstructing materials, my mental process as an artist, and my influences, most notably Kota Otieno. His influence is reflected in "Kuona," which is an abstract map of our workspace in Kenya, where I learned the art of metal stitching. I associate this place with my artistic leap from Photography, Painting, and the use of color, in to a new realm of art that has allowed me to grow in a new form of expression. This growth is emphasized through the motion of materials spilling beyond the frame, the rusting of metal, and the interaction between at least two contrasting techniques. All of these components are meant to represent the imprint of a particular place or experience and the evolution, or rusting, of thoughts, ideas, and convictions.”
26 p.
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