Spiral Plexus
2000 acrylic windspinners and steel 12ft x 12ft x 8ft 2012
Spiral Plexus was designed as a temporary public installation for Art On The Way, an Austin arts nonprofit.  
Located at GSD&M, 828 West 6th Street in Austin, Spiral Plexus consisted of 2000 acrylic windspinners held under tension, on steel swivels and springs, suspended from a steel armature of nine interlocking circles.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Station Eight: Congregation
wax, cloth, thread, feathers, bronze, artist's hair 15ft x 5ft x 5ft 2010
This piece was created for a group show of the Stations of the Cross held at Pump Project Art Complex, curated by the artists Michael Abelman and Jennifer Remenchik. I chose the eighth station because it is one of the few that directly involve women, and chose symbolism that not only evoked religion, but touched heavily on stereotypically feminine themes: home, craft, piety, chastity, fecundity, the womb and childbirth. For this piece, I brushed wax into the plaster molds I had used for the slip-cast ceramic portrait busts of the Pretty Pile of Hurts installation. I then attached the wax to gauze panels and stitched them together to create a prayer shawl. The shawls’ tassels were beaded to evoke a rosary, but left untied and thus coming undone. The prayer shawls were suspended from nails on a stained wooden cross. On the ground beneath the shawls was a nest of feathers and human hair. For the nest I cast an apple, pomegranate, and a feather in bronze in order to evoke the myths of Eve, Persephone, and Leda as archetypal women.
 

 

 

 

 

 

Imperative
ceramic, steel, wood, copper, plastic, flame 16ft x 20ft x 20ft 2009
Imperative is a series of pieces created for a solo show at Co-Lab Project Space in Austin, a unique project space known for innovative and experimental trans-media and installation art, run by fellow Austin artist Sean Gaulager. The piece was conceived as a study in process. The center of the space was filled with a large installation of ceramic scrap—some bisque-fired, some wet clay cut on site in various stages of drying. Above these pieces were rebar circles reclaimed form an industrial construction site. Steel mesh belted to the wall holds fired clay scraps and copper mesh surrounding small flames. A wall of shelves held plaster reproductions of wooden architectural pieces from a future installation. A wall piece created for the show consisted of handmade ceramic ropes nailed to reclaimed wood.

 

 

 

 

 

Infer Genius: Sightless Italians
Recycled venetian blinds 16ft x 16ft x 20ft 2008

You’ll Forgive Me Again (and Other Misconstruing)
recycled venetian blinds 20ft x 15ft x 17ft 2007

You’ll Forgive Me (and Other Misconstruing)
recycled venetian blinds 12ft x 8ft x 10ft 2007

The venetian blind pieces were early experiments with site-specific installations that led to several installations with this material. Having begun as a painter, I then moved on to free-standing sculptural work, this was a new mode for me. The appeal of the blinds lay in their availability (reused from the old studio after relocating) and their light-weight expansiveness and versatile possibilities of handling. Stretched, twisted, suspended, the blinds created spontaneous overlaying lines familiar to me from my two-dimensional work and created stunning effects with lighting that added to their linear interest. The first installation You’ll Forgive Me and Other Misconstruings was created in Marfa, TX, and on a slightly larger scale for the Texas State Gallery in San Marcos. The largest installation, Infer Genius: Sightless Italians, was created for a solo show at Big Medium in 2008 and filled the Bay 10 project space there.

 

 

 

 

 

Identity Complex: Misfortune
2500 handmade ceramic fortune cookies .5ft x 6ft x 10ft 2008

Misfortune
handmade ceramic fortune cookies 2ft x 4ft x 8ft 2007

As a child I collected fortunes from fortune cookies, eagerly opening the cookie with an excited sense of the magic they might contain. I hand-made over two thousand cookies for the piece, exploring an interest in multiples and the linear quality and impressive scale they create in situ.

 

 

 

 

Identity Complex: Vital Landscape
plaster, wood, sand, fiberglass 10ft x 6ft x 10ft 2008
Vital landscape was a plaster waterfall created within a wooden grid. The plaster allowed me to give the piece a painterly effect while containing it within frames—contained chaos, restrained action. Seamstress, was one of three rectilinear elements created as off-shoots of the waterfall displayed alongside.
 


 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
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© 2015 by Heather Tolleson.