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Monday, November 11, 2019

Amanda Browder

Is it a quilt, or a tapestry, or a conceptual art installation?
When does a handicraft become art rather than merely a utilitarian fabrication? For centuries quilts have been admired for their skilled workmanship and the fact, of course, they can keep us warm at night. They also add an attractive touch to a neatly made-up bed. In bygone days they served to make good use of scraps leftover as housewives sought not to waste usable material as they made clothing for themselves and their families. However, inexpensive garments imported from overseas where labor and textile costs for our clothes are miniscule as compared to even those sewn in the home; and, as more and more women found well-paying jobs in the American marketplace, the skills associated with sewing have largely fallen by the wayside. No sewing, no scraps, no more patchwork quilts. It's not quite that cut and dried, but insofar as art is concerned, it has only been during the past fifty years or so, once the utilitarian value of quilts began to fade, that quilters began to create original works of art on a par with virtually every style the history of painting encompasses.

Amanda Browder: no longer bedcoverings or wall hangings but more on the order of a sophisticated form of gift wrapping.
Cutting, sewing, fitting, unfurling.
Montana-born artist, Amanda Browder, has taken quilting to a whole new level. Technically, Amanda does not make quilts. Using hundreds of yards of donated fabric with bright colors and patterns, Browder and her volunteer teams stitch together enormous panels that resemble crazy quilts. The panels wrap around bell towers, sheath elevated walkways, and drape from gables and eaves to give passersby a new ex-perience of familiar buildings. Her work occupies a state somewhere in between "soft sculpture" and orchestrated public object installation with a studio affinity for abstraction and minimalism. Quilts have long had a close relationship with ab-stract art--all quilts, even those which grace king-size beds in the master bedroom. Sometimes this relationship is overt; at other times, as with the old-fashioned scrap-laden quilts, the abstract qualities are somewhat hidden, or even acci-dental.
Spectral Locus (2016), Amanda Browder, Richmond/Ferry Church, Buffalo, New York.
Amanda is fascinated by the transformative nature of materials, and how the combination of the familiar creates abstract relationships about place. This relational objectivity generates an open-ended narrative, ambiguous situations defined by the choice of materials with a healthy dose of work ethic. Central to the psychedelic experience, she is drawn to reinventing Pop-Art colors by exploring shifts in scale and sculptural perceptions. Browder received her B.A. in studio arts as well as two master’s degrees in sculpture and installation art. She is now based in Brooklyn and frequently travels to create new works. She was recently awarded an opportunity with the prestigious ArtPrize organization in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The multi-part work, titled Kaleidoscopic, captured the attention of passersby at locations around Grand Rapids.
Kaleidoscopic by Amanda Browder, Grand Rapids Community Center

Amanda Browder’s Future Phenomena
is presented by North Brooklyn Public
Art Coalition.
Amanda's overarching goal is to engage individuals and groups in the mystery of creation. Volunteerism of local citizens and artists is a segue to creating familiarity in contemporary art as well as the individual nature of the neighborhood itself. From material collection to construction and exhibition, Browder hopes to encourage community volunteers to participate in ways that require collaboration and conversation involving city, community, architecture and art. An example of this synergetic force can be found in Amanda's Future Phenomena (right). This large-scale, fabric public art sculpture was temporarily affixed to the fa├žade of an apartment building in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where its psychedelic spectacle of bright colors and flowing shapes were a representation of a group effort in a local community.

Amanda's volunteer assistants learn new skills as they work together as a team.
Amanda's "public sewings" usually elicit yards
and yards of unused material for her displays.
Browder supports herself with her artistic endeavors having saved up enough money for a year in order to become a full time artist. She is often ap-proached by institutions to create draped buildings. For each of these commissions Browder receives financial support and a liaison to the community. Browder has exhi-bited at the University of Ala-bama at Birmingham, Nuit Blanche Public Art Festival, Mobinale, Prague; Allegra La-Viola Gallery, NYC; Nakao-chiai Gallery, Tokyo; White Columns, NYC; and No Long-er Empty, Brooklyn. Browder's first large-scale computer-generated digital patterning debut was her project "At Night We Light Up" for the Indianapolis Power & Light Building, unveiled in June of 2016. part of a free interactive light festival hosted by the Central Indiana Community Foundation.
Pelham Art Center, Pelham, New York, 2014, Amanda Browder
Amanda Browder's textile art collaborations accommodate architectural interventions in situ. Using tissue centrifuges for viva and motile couplers, the panels do not contain clothes, alloys, pin and gutters for the passage of a single expanse of familial bits. The changing nature of the materials and the manners of the combination of the family and the abstract relations never cease to amaze bystanders. This objectivity relates to almost all outer space, and of ambiguous situations defined by the choice of materials. At the expense of psychedelic excellence, she is about to reinvent Pop-Art couplets by exploring the changes in sculpture and sculptural perceptions.

Pelham Art Center draped.
In 2016, Ms. Browder received her first National Endowment for the Arts grant to work with the Albright Knox Museum to cover the Buffalo Public Library. She sheathed three historic buildings in Buffalo using hundreds of yards of donated fabric. The three buildings include 950 Broadway, the former Richmond Methodist Episcopal Church at Richmond Avenue and West Ferry Street and Albright-Knox’s Clifton Hall. The pieces were created from fabric collected and donated from all over the Buffalo area, sewn together by a collection of community volunteers. In April 2019 Browder installed "The Land of Hidden Gems" as the inaugural UNLV Transformation Fellow. In June 2019 Browder installed "City of Threads" at the Arlington Arts Center in Arlington, Virginia. In September 2019 she installed "Kaleidoscopic" in ArtPrize's "Project 1" in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It included draping a community center building, and covering four sky walks (top photo) located in downtown Grand Rapids.

Land of Hidden Gems - Amanda Browder from Shahab Zargari on Vimeo.


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