Adjacent to Hughes’ eye-popping creation is another sculpture, this one a bit less tranquil. Extractions by Olivia Hamilton (CFA’18) appears at first glance to be a heap of garbage. On closer inspection, the viewer can see that amid wood structures are tattered cloths that have been sewn together into jackets and other articles of clothing. There are also patches of grass, plants, and even fabric arms that jut out near a large hut-like creation. The work has a decidedly political undertone, addressing the way we consume—and willingly dispose of—material.
“I have a lot of guilt about making art in the first place, because it’s sort of useless, and I’m spending my time making useless things,” Hamilton says. “I have guilt about using materials knowing that a lot of it will become garbage.” The artist says she wanted to repurpose fabric and other materials and extract as much life from them as possible. She began by taking discarded bolts of fabric and first making jackets with them, then using them for what she calls anti-fashion garments, and finally, shaping them into sculpture. Along the way, Hamilton made a video showing her layering the jackets on top of one another, then created a book from her photo shoot of the anti-fashion clothing; both video and book are on display in the gallery. “It’s sort of like recycling, but I don’t like that word,” Hamilton explains.
Additional pictures by MHS.