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Donna Cleary
Brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Clinton Hill

ARTIST STATEMENT: I've reimagined fetish objects and fertility statuary using contemporary materials collected from my surroundings. With an interested in what marks our epoch and the eye of an anthropologist, I collect domestic detritus as "artifacts" from the streets. In the tradition of women's handiwork, the domestic and maternal, I crochet fibers around these formerly useful objects to bind them together. On one hand, they sprout new skin and connective tissue - suggesting rebirth and growth. On the other, the objects are consumed by the fibers, detaching them from their unique histories, binding them in new realities. I'm curious about the phenomenon of attachment. The maternal is our first attachment and essential for survival but breaking that bond is imperative to individuality. I see this paradox reflected in the desire/suppression of the female in contemporary culture. Michelle Grabner and Ken Johnson brought this discourse to the forefront recently and I’m happy to be part of the dialogue. And the ever present assertion that a woman is the sole proprietor of her body is always at the forefront. Does our consumer culture stems from our loss of reverence for the feminine? Have we have substituted one for the other in our desires - fetishizing shiny new objects in a continuous cycle of replacement? These sculptures weave together consumption-based waste with the handmade, the durable with the fragile and the past with the present. From these entanglements emerge abstracted bodies that allude to both male and female generative forces and the domestic as a power center, Donna Haraway's cyborgs, the post human and mythic entanglements. I also pull back from these ideas and think strictly through the abstracted lens, allowing the forms to speak for themselves. My work relates directly to my experiences with the maternal as well as years spent working as an RN.

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  • The act of thrusting or throwing out (extrusion)
    found wood and conduit, yarn, recycled plastic bags as stuffing
    48 x 17 x 14 inches
    An abstracted female torso is being extruded through a found conduit. Breasts and vulva exposed, this sculpture is suggestive in its repose as the figure bends backwards over an erect timber.

  • optimal inertial design for self propulsion
    crutches, yarn, wire, styrofoam
    47 x 28 x 25 inches
    A piece of styrofoam shaped like a pelvis was the genesis of this sculpture. Inverted and disrupted, the crutches still appear to assist with propulsion. Crocheted yarn surrounds the pelvis and spro

  • angler's souvenir
    crocheted yarn and wire, box, stool, found plastic cap,
    50 x 18 x 18 inches
    A shipping box is the quintessential symbol of consumer culture. The crocheted male genitalia serve as a reminder of our capacity for rebirth while the quirky, abstracted form atop the box harkens to

  • merkin
    baby cow nursing nipple, yarn, found iron ring
    3 x 7 x 4 inches
    These nipples are used to feed baby cows when the mother isn't available. Adding the found iron ring transforms it into a pacifier of sorts. Hairy yarn binds the two components and adds a humor

  • pelvis - detail
    sink drain, yarn.
    56 x 6 x 6 inches
    In the shape of a Greek Urn or Amphora, this shape references a classic vessel, which suggests the uterus and the maternal.

  • pelvis
    yarn, sink drain, architects drawing tube
    56 x 6 x 6 inches
    In the shape of a Greek Urn or Amphora, this shape references a classic vessel, which suggests the uterus and the maternal. The architect's tube adds a dimension of inquiry that explores the p

  • speculum
    flashlight, yarn
    6 x 4 x 4 inches
    A flash light is encased in yarn. Hairy orifices that glow from within humorously refer to medical devices used in vaginal exams. An hour glass shape alludes to fetish objects such as the Willendorf

  • totem pods
    hokey-vacuum, yarn, repurposed grocery bags (the stuffing).
    48 x 22 x 12 inches,
    These forms suggest oddly dysfunctional seed pods stacked and hung from a classic symbol of domestic labor. The vacuum was found on the street and repurposed as display - becoming part of the sculptu

  • upper hand
    cast plaster hand, found conduit and box, yarn
    17 x 16 x 14 inches
    A used postal box becomes the base from which conduit grows while a cast plaster hand is held in place by a growth of crocheted yarn.

  • worm hole
    found lamp, knit and crocheted yarn, feeding nipples, wire
    31 x 20 x 15 inches
    A found lamp sprouts a sinuous form with a leafy head and protrusions that elude to both male and female body parts.

  • descendant
    found crates, hose, pipe, flashlight (under crochet) crochet head
    59 x 15 x 15 inches.
    A knit mask surrounds a found flashlight (that still functions and casts light in a darkened room) and becomes a head. Found copper piping from the restoration of my apartment building becomes an ana

  • fuzzy logic
    found core sample from cement structure, crocheted yarn and wire.
    8 x 5 x 3 inches
    The inertia and solidity of the cement core sample is in contrast to the soft yarn constructs that surrounds it, seemingly adding a human, warming touch. A gaping orifice atop it all quietly mimics p

  • the tramp
    found bike pump, conduit, yarn, wire.
    30 x 32 x 10 inches
    Think Charlie Chaplin, then think vasculature, and red protuberances.

  • spiral trajectory
    yarn, wire, found pulley.
    16 x 9 x 7 inches,
    A curious growth with an orifice, emerges from its cast off base.

647 Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217


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