Two new Storefront installations – Under Maintenance by Nina Vichayapai, and Fertile Remnants by Clarissa Callesen – are now on view at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, WA, now to March 2020. Presented by Shunpike as part of its acclaimed Storefronts program, the installations have been sponsored by Meydenbauer Center.
ARTIST: Nina Vichayapai
WORK: Under Maintenance
My work addresses how surroundings come to embody experiences of humans in migration. From representing the private interiors of the home to the ambiguity of wild landscapes I reveal the ways in which environments expose personal and social histories. Drawing upon research and my experiences as a second-generation immigrant to reflect upon the conditions of society as they connect to history, I highlight migrations spurned by trauma, survival, opportunity, and exploration. My work shows that these journeys do not occur without leaving traces upon the self or the places they happen through. I build installations of soft sculptural objects which represent metaphors to these themes. The vibrant displays created are made of textiles associated with domestic interiors and serve as an homage to homemaking. Representing a range of objects with these fabrics is how I express the concept of a dynamic and migratory home. One which travels and evolves with our identities to ground us as we navigate our lives.
ARTIST: Clarissa Callensen
WORK: Fertile Remnants
My work is grounded in materiality. Interaction with material objects is a part of our daily life. Those items range from deeply symbolic to completely disposable. We are all interconnected through commonplace matter. I create by physically interacting with my materials. I search and collect, inspect and experience, touch, and smell, contemplate and see. The process becomes a kind of meditative puzzle to find the connections between the objects. Looking to the way they communicate, either attracting and complimenting or repelling and contradicting. I wish to see past an object’s original purpose or identifying qualities and see it as a raw material that communicates in shape, texture, and color. I like to think of myself as an alchemist using my caldrons of rust and plants to transform the very essence of a discarded object. I like to fool your eye. Creating illusions of rock and bone from fabric and junk making you question what you perceive. Through this alchemy the meaning of the objects becomes malleable and a new identity is constructed. Both physically and emotionally I challenge myself to look critically at what our culture labels as repulsive, scary, or unacceptable. Finding the beauty and value in the trash on the ground and honoring the fertility contained within messy human struggles. My work is also informed and inspired by the natural world and the inevitable processes of death and decomposition, birth and regrowth. Exploring the parallels between those external processes in nature with the inner environment of our minds and emotions. I am intrigued by the vitality contained within “undesirable” natural environments and processes such as the decomposition of debris into life feeding compost, or the “unsightly” brush and bramble patches that support integral populations. We live in a world of sharp contrast; the beauty of life and creation exists beside pointless destruction and devastating heartache. To live in this world, we must learn to hold the two experiences simultaneously. Currently, recycled textiles are my primary medium. I love the intimate connection to our daily existence. We wear our favorite shirt until it is threadbare. We create life, give birth, and die surrounded by smooth sheets and soft bedding. We use clothing to honor our historic cultures and to identify our social groups. We carefully choose special garments to mark significant milestones of our lives. The very fabric is infused with social practice, history, and human connection.