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LOUISA ARMBRUST
Brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Gowanus



ARTIST STATEMENT: I am fascinated by the conflicting characteristics of play. Play is described as the opposite of work, but is used to train children to be 'team players' in the workplace. What if our co-workers were always trying to bite us? People take up sports to relax and have fun, then take them very, very seriously. Think of parents at a Little League game or packs of weekend warriors in head-to-toe Lycra riding their bikes while shouting to each other about their VO2 max. Play is in every facet of life. It is not good or bad, but it forms and informs our world. My work explores how our never-ending impulse to play involves disorder, nonsense and useless action that destabilize fixed ideologies of work, learning, and leisure. Using paintings, drawings, prints and installations I trace scenarios occurring in sports and games to show the limits of the rules of the game. What happens when a player leaves the boundaries of a painting? Imagine a badminton birdie so large it is a threat to national security. My projects use techniques and visual materials borrowed from commercial purposes: stenciling, digital prints and laser-cut adhesive vinyl, how-to illustrations and signage. With games as my language and instructional diagrams as my ‘alphabet’, I examine the paradox of play, on the one hand an end in itself, done for its own pure enjoyment and on the other, an instrumental tool teaching ideals of fair play and sportsmanship.
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