During my Yuyuan Road Artist Residency in Shanghai China, the last thing I expected was to be transported to my midwestern childhood summers. I’d grown up in the tiniest of Nebraska towns and was now in the world’s third-largest city, a culture, and continent completely apart. As I observed the many dress and tailor shops, heard the brilliant buzzing of cicadas, and felt the pervading humidity of June and July, I was transported back in a palpable way.
My mother a seamstress, taught her four daughters to sew each summer break. We spent hours in the basement diligently completing newly constructed garments for the scrutiny of the county fair. These paintings contemplate the hours of laying and cutting out pattern pieces, tight deadlines, and perhaps some of the disorientation I felt as a kid. As I created here on Yuyuan Road, memories of the shapes’ visual dialogue flowed from my fingertips and my longing for those days was visceral.
These works employ my extrusion painting process on substrates sewn from synthetic textiles. In Shanghai, I observed polypropylene woven sacks used to transport everything from mail to recycling piled high on bicycles and scooters taken ingeniously from one part of the city to the other. 3D-spacer polyester mesh often used in the manufacturing of running shoes and travel bags transports the myriad of ways in which we move our bodies and things. I’ve also included everyday, functional materials such as sponges and towels (used to transport dirt/grime, water, and soap) or in the case of drawer liner to keep objects from transport. To be transported to my childhood past by such a faraway and disparate city was perhaps ironic. Perhaps it reveals that the fabric upon which we all exist is not so dissimilar.