Lecture by Fuzzy Mall
April 11 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Tuesday, April 11, 2023 / 11:00 am EST
Registration is free for members, $5 for guests.
Registration opens about a month before the lecture. Please register on the Registration Form
I was born in Pittsburgh, PA and attended Kent State University in Kent, OH. I began painting immediately upon graduation and consider myself to be self-taught. While in Ohio, I met my future wife. We moved to a small college town in rural Missouri to pursue a teaching opportunity. I continued painting, developing a new body of work every year, while working full time as a postman. I considered my studio practice to be a passionate hobby. As our lives changed, so has my work. Painting has given way to textiles, our home has moved from the United States to Canada, and my hobby is becoming a profession.
My work in portraiture is interaction driven. I get to know my subject by taking candid photos and studying their unique body language. Focusing on the person in mid-motion, I capture raised eyebrows, crooked smiles and waving hands that we all use to communicate. This is a response to the deluge of Instagram and Facebook images currently flooding our daily lives. My intention is to reinterpret fleeting imagery by slowing down the process and hand working it, slowly creating a permanent object from an image that we are accustomed to seeing swiped away by a finger. Ephemeral moments disappear unless made permanent in some way. My goal is to tap into the tradition of quilts and painted portraits as family heirlooms by creating contemporary portraits from these casual photographs that are snapped by cell phones, often live in the cloud, and usually disappear.
My latest series (Forest Bath) is an expansion on this idea. Pieces continue to focus on personal identity and diversity, depicting people of various ages, races, and genders. I capture people in action, in personal settings, doing things they love to do. The work is a response to our current media landscape, which is jarring and anxiety-inducing. As an American living in Canada, I’ve been feeling helpless watching each news cycle. This new work is a response to the number of depressing news stories coming out of my home country. I feel sad, angry, frustrated, and ineffective. I know the stories of school shootings, corporate greed, decaying environment, and corrupt politicians won’t stop anytime soon; and as a result, I can only focus on a localized and momentary happiness. This series portrays people doing simple things that bring them bliss, whether it be gardening, biking, yoga, or playing with a pet. More than ever, I need to see people enjoying life’s small moments.
My work is created from raw-edged appliqué of mostly reclaimed fabrics. This newest project breaks the square/rectangle format of traditional portraiture by eliminating the frame. Figures are larger than life-sized, include the entire body, and exist independent of any background, floating on the wall or in space. Each portrait becomes more sculptural, casts its own shadow, and lives in a space in a new and unexpected way. Our experience becomes more intimate; the figure invites the viewer to enter this personal moment, and allows us to be in the same space during that captured moment. Hopefully we slow down.