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Maker(s):D'Arrigo, Elisa
Culture:American (1953- )
Title:Inside Out #12
Date Made:2000-2002
Materials:cloth, acrylic medium, acrylic paint, thread
Measurements:109 x 53 x 72"
Accession Number:  AC 2006.04
Credit Line:Gift of the artist in honor of Eleanor and Joseph D'Arrigo
Museum Collection:  Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

Label Text:
For me, process and image have always been interconnected. With a lot of the work I do, I don’t have an image specifically in mind—it’s really the process that often leads to the image in a kind of mutual back and forth that leads to clarity. As the work starts to take shape, then I find my direction. It’s a way of thinking with materials. Picturing something apart from working with materials often leaves me dissatisfied. It feels too dissociated from the actual work. It is very much an organic process, and that is how each individual element of the work is made as well.

The Inside Out series is associated with a group of Chiaroscuro drawings I made which were cellular or molecular in their overall feeling. Like the sculptures, they are about small parts, tiny drawings glued and pieced together to make larger entities. The idea of sewing together individual units to create a whole or a larger fragment is similar to the small units that I glued together in the drawings. Using a different material was a way of taking that impulse further while maintaining the cellular, biological/cosmological character that the drawings have.

This work is made entirely of cloth, with no understructure, so it is quite flexible. I wrap the wet cloth around the forms and then pull out the form, thereby creating a hollow cloth element – essentially a simple casting process. The cloth has been painted and when it’s still wet, it is like working with a wet slab of clay. While I’m working it, I can manipulate it to make folds which are very much part of the image and read as a linear element.

I make many of these forms using different shades of green, or whatever color I am working with for a particular piece. Then as I sew them together I often realize that I need more forms. So then I have to build up my inventory again; it’s that kind of back and forth.

It was not my intention with Inside Out #12 to have it extend from the wall and spill onto the floor. Originally I had envisioned it smaller, but as I worked it came alive and seemed to need to fill the field of vision more; to become bigger, longer: this needs to hit the floor here; that needs to sprawl out there. This piece could have been my life’s work and gone on forever, so pronouncing it “finished” seems somewhat arbitrary. One is seeing it at one stage in its development; at a moment, or a fragment of a moment stopped in time. I would like the viewer to imagine it continuing to grow, expanding into the space. My intent is that the physical impact and image of this work will induce a state of reverie in the viewer.

In Primal, one first sees the chains and remembers the paper chains that we made when we were children. The really rudimentary way that an idea can happen is through the process rather than with a specific idea. Here are these circles next to each other – what if I made them interlock? In order to make them interlocking, there would have to be a strip that I would then sew. So when I started making this work, I realized that this is like one of those paper chains. As I was doing it I was thinking that it was similar to my other work, if not exactly the same. But the idea was to make a ball with it, to start and just keep building it to make a solid thing and one that was really heavy.

As is often the case, this work came out of another piece. Again the idea originated in a drawing; this time with circles next to each other, and more scribbled on top of each other. I just translated it into different materials. So, Primal began from notions about process, but as the piece began emerging as a form, I found myself thinking about it in a metaphorical way. The blue net felt almost like a placental support connecting the yellow sphere to the smaller red ones and keeping them afloat for a while—perhaps until they grew large enough to drift away on their own.

abstract; biology; cloth

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