Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Yesterday I finally watched the so called documentary Handmade Nation and I have to say I was beyond disappointed but I will write more on that later this week. However, in watching it the work of artist Mandy Greer caught my eye to I looked her up and am now thinking wow, major wow. Her work is a cross between amazing chandeliers and over-grown organic structures, and hanging Spanish moss and it is oh so beautiful.

As you walk through Mandy's installations it is hard to know if you are lost in the forest, under the sea, or in some decadent wonderland but either way I want to stop and stay awhile. Mandy combines varied fiber techniques from precise sculptural structures, to beading, to quilting, to free form crochet, and throws in some ceramics too.

In her quite dense statement she says:

My strategies for imagery are to present my own elusive interior narratives remade into archetypal tales. These “fairy” tales transcend the personal by mimicking theatrical illusions and tapping into our collective human mythology. My environments address the fundamental need for narrative, to examine the human predicament through story, particularly through using natural and animal forms. My conceptual process involves investigating archetypes, mythology and folk tales from a wide variety of cultures, seeking out imagery that coincides with our experiences of everyday life and speaks to the needs of our time yet also have an air of timelessness.

Her simpler pieces are just as lovely, evocative, and ambiguously placed as her elaborate installations.

I enjoy how she use very traditional motifs and techniques such as handmade braided rugs, something I have always wanted to play with, and places them within a very contemporary & relevant work.

She frequently uses the form of whimsical forest creatures in her work, including the ever present deer form. What is it about the deer that draws so many artists to it? And since I just saw a ton of deers while I was away in the Poconos I understand that they are simply majestic- but metaphorically what are they standing in for when people utilize them? I would love to hear an artist directly speak to this.

Of course she has some incredibly gorgeous trophy heads in her collection of work too. Also something that I have seen quite a bit of in fiber artists and wonder what about these objects draw so many artists to them?

I am incredibly impressed and inspired by the ambitious nature of Mandy's techniques and scale. She obviously allows herself a massive amount of time to produce just one piece and it shows in the incredible nature of her work. And it is so comforting to know that she is doing all this while she is raising a young child- evidence that it can be done.

You can see more of Mandy's work at her flickr page and her blog.


Allison Stephanie said...

Wow! That is a wonderland! I think that I love her more simpler peices better... but everything is so beautiful!

Morgan Gesell said...

I'm so intrigued by your thoughts on artists being drawn to the deer form. I'm completely drawn to trophy heads and have used them in my work as well, but I really can't explain why. I too would love to hear an artist put it into words.

Joetta M. said...

Allison- I sort of agree though I would love to see her installs!

Right Morgan! I have never hear an artist directly talk about the deer. Kiki Smith often uses the deer figure and I have heard her speak 3 times and she never directly mentions it. Interesting isn't it. Yet, so many, especially female, artists use it as a symbol. I am really intrigued by it.

cardinal arts said...

amazing work! thanks for sharing that

the work sort of reminds me of a show I saw of Petah Coyne's
she uses wax and hair in her pieces, usually black, white and a bit of red, but they have the same quality as the organic chandelier shapes
very beautiful yet slightly creepy

Virginia said...

I was fortunate enough to experience Greer's installation Dare alla Luce in Portland, OR and it blew my mind. Then i was even more fortunate to attend one of her crochet-a-thon which brought crocheting into my work and my installation, 'this comes from within'. I find Mandy Greer's work extremely inspiring and I am glad you discovered her!! I really enjoy your blog! peace

Joetta M. said...

i totally see the connection to petah coyne and lover her work. just realized that she had an exhibit at the brooklyn musuem last year and i missed it!!!