Kathryn Spence is inspired by nature in the production of her sculptures and installations. Using found, dirty, and discarded materials, the San Francisco-based artist accurately re-creates wildlife from scraps of paper, fabric, string and wire.
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
s new exhibition, Kathryn Spence: Dirty and Clean, presents the work of the avid birder and lover of nature. Spence, who is capable of distinguishing particular species from a great distance, creates rabbits, owls, foxes, butterflies, and birdsalbeit made of discarded materialsportraying clear, distinct personalities and identities with incredible exactitude. The exhibition will remain on view through June 10, 2012.
The exhibition at The Aldrich presents a series of native animals that Spence considers clean, since, as she states, nature does not produce waste. Curator Mónica Ramírez-Montagut explains, Spences nuanced, obsessive, and busy gathering of seemingly dirty used materials has its counterpart in the way she impeccably reorganizes them in the studio. Eventually her pristine order and intense transformation renders them into unique creatures ready to inhabit the clean space of the museum gallery. Paradoxically, the artist considers that on occasion her work has the opposite effect: she dirties the gathered materials because the dirt distances them from consumer sensibility; in those cases it is the dirt that cleans the sculptures.
Kathryn Spence was born in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1963. She earned her BFA from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and her MFA from Mills College, Oakland, CA. Spence is represented by Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco