Despite the continual upending of what art can be, presumptions of what art should be remain steadfast and continue to be reinforced by categories and biases that run throughout art discourse. My work focuses on the ways in which the specificity of materials and making processes plays in to the valuing of made works on the shifty spectrum between Art and Craft. I make pieces that vibrate between the languages of Painting and various forms of Craft in order to frustrate and expose the contradictory and culturally loaded hierarchy of value that separates these categories. Examining the ways Craft and Art are separated as well as intertwined theoretically, materially, and historically, I’m interested in the valuing and politics of function, labor, and the shifting categorizations of different materials, makers, and practices as “minor.” I believe that a close comparative study of materials and methods of making can investigate and embarrass the assumptions of value that continue to uphold the uncomfortable Craft/Art split.
As my most recurrent material, handmade beadwork has been specifically significant to my research on the instability of divisive lines between different categories of artmaking. The history of beads is heavy with instances of transformation, contradiction, and transition. Linked with histories of colonialism, femininity, labor, costume, and craft, beads upset dynamics of power, identity, value, and taste. This transformational tendency and constant slippage allows for works that are ambiguous in their relationship to their own form, which alternate between hesitantly accepting and defiantly evading categorization.