American Dreamers, the current exhibition at Florence’s Strozzina Center of Contemporary Culture in Palazzo Strozzi, focuses on work by artists who use “fantasy, imagination and dreams to build alternative worlds” in today’s complex lifestyle and questions if the “American Dream” still exists or not.
One of my favorite artists in the exhibit, Mandy Greer, has created a site-specific installation called Cynosura.
Greer is a mixed media and multi-disciplinary artist in that she began studying ceramics, which lead to fiber arts, and includes installation, film, performance, and photography. She creates narrative archetypal objects charged with unusual dichotomies of life and nature with mythology and fantasy. Greer states that she strives to “construct an organic glam full of paradoxes: the collusion of homeliness and glitz, hunger and indulgence, love and violence, the decorative and the meaningful, torment and release, the diligence of the handmade and slovenliness of the animal realm.” Her work is both beautiful in its intricate and obsessive detail, and simultaneously slightly grotesque, in the traditional meaning of the word.
My initial investigation of her work was the attraction to the materials and the construction of such curious objects verging on decorative or domestic. Greer uses delicate yet heavy crocheted structures embellished with a gamut of materials found and collected from thrift stores and discarded remnants such as beads, buttons, fabrics, and glitter — all repurposed into a new “life”. The environment she creates is full of sparkle, light, and jewels, but also a subversive darkness and dream-like mystery.
Mandy Greer (b. 1973) lives and works in Seattle, WA, where she received her MFA at the University of Washington (1999). It was also the location of her first big break, an exciting commission to create a permanent installation in Rem Koolhaas-designed Seattle Central Library and her first solo museum exhibition at the Bellevue Arts Musuem in 2008. From there, her success and her work continued to grow. To learn more, see Greer’s blog where she writes a very candid and sincere description of her work. I can only imagine what her studio looks like!
This exhibition is organised by the CCC Strozzina in conjunction with the Hudson River Museum (Yonkers, New York, USA) and curated by Bartholomew F. Bland.
9 March–15 July 2012
free Thursdays 18.00–23.00
tel. +39 055 2645155