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MaryKate Maher
Brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Bushwick



ARTIST STATEMENT: In my practice, I begin by researching and mining the textures of nature and the post-industrial landscape. Starting from this place, I fabricate objects that resemble smooth river-rocks, sections of concrete, chunks of marble and knotted wood burls: a heterogeneous mixture of man-made and naturally occurring debris. These fabricated objects become foundational units in my sculptural process. I look for ways that these forms might relate to each other. I work towards arrangements that are “coercive” in some sense, symbiotic but not agreeably so. One element supports another in a tentative foundation.
This work comes out of my interest in cairns, balancing rocks, site-markers and totems. Evoking a sense of intervention, these structures have the quality of “the temporary fix.” Such artifacts exhibit a care in the craftsmanship, which is delicate but not precious: a monolith is shimmed from beneath to help straighten it out. The stacking of cairns is rather aesthetic for something meant to be practical, many small movements that when combined make up a larger, spatially impressive structure.
I use industrial materials to mimic organic forms: a carved salt-lick takes on the qualities of sculpted marble, a discarded Styrofoam chunk is actually cast from high-grade statuary resin. I use balance and hidden supports to give the impression that objects defy the limits of weight & gravity. They cling and lean on each other for mutual support. Many of my sculptures and works on paper contain inlaid c-prints of diffused voids, broken surfaces and out-of-¬focus halos. These elements become moments of visual vibration, resisting the definition of foreground and background, animating and obscuring the surface on which they are placed.
The works become formalized as I reconfigure individually crafted objects until they become a larger, cohesive sculpture. Approached like drawing in the round, I build and erase until the form feels correct. The individual objects have no loyalty to each other. This creates an interesting tension between concept and formality. Pedestals are not necessary, objects exist on the floor as if put aside for later use. Some works interact with the wall. There is an intimacy in this, the viewer is a party to the negotiation of forms.
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