My artistic process is one of gathering, sorting, and assimilating my experience of the world. In sculptural form, I re-shape and articulate distillations of my subjective experiences. Through an intuitive process of making and unmaking, I arrive at the semi-figurative/semi-abstract elements that structure my compositions, allowing for the open-ended content I desire. The work explores various subjective states: psychological, emotional, and physical. The "body" is often my starting point, either through modeling, life casting, or constructing, it is then represented pictorially as well as conceptually. I am interested in creating work that speaks to both embodied and mindful experience. The pieces emerge from the very act of making, from responding, from play and from contemplation. I use imagery, color and sensory/tactile materials as an entry point into the layered "narratives" I create.
Recent work continues to explore two overlapping concepts. One is the space of inside and outside or above and below, the other is the connection between mind and body and ultimately something called "spirit" or the indefinable realm that is neither anatomy nor cognition. Two larger pieces entitled Vessel I and Vessel II, come out of these two intersecting and often overlapping impulses. The pieces contain the contents of individual anatomy book, each page folded into a paper boat, dipped in wax and then sewn together into star/flower/cell forms. The pieces are about growth and different ways of viewing the body. In Vessel I, there is an inside and an outside, yet the two are linked and permeable to each other through the cut, painted and dashed spiral (in translucent plexiglas). I am also interested in speaking to the differing ways Eastern and Western medicine approach the body.
Songs Inside, Roost, and Sea Inside are also pieces with an inside and outside or an above and below. The space "inside the head" (thoughts, feelings, and emotions) is a theme that has recurred in my work in differing iterations. Songs Inside contains mantras and meditations. Roost has barely visible writing on the surface of the puzzled notebook pads making up the head...a head inhabited by yellow hybrid songbirds (self-portraiture is woven in and through many of the pieces).
The smaller wall sculptures, such as Nest, Hearth, and The Measure of Innocence, start with castings made from rubber molds, as does the floor piece entitled Vision. The original patterns were created through clay modeling, body castings, and with found objects, either singly or in combination. Once I have the castings, I create pieces using one or more castings and other materials, typically wood, fabric, wax and occasionally found objects. The pieces are not preconceived; I arrive at my assemblages through a process of responding to the composite forms and their associated meanings, as well as playing with material combinations: texture, color, line, and surface. The idiosyncratic objects come out personal experience, process and culturally familiar iconography.
Austin College Show
Review of Palpable, Sensory, Tactile: Sculpture by Isabel Farnsworth and Shannon Hines