Hilary Pfeifer, a Portland, OR artist, is working on an The Beauty of Life, an installation inspired by the wallpaper and fabric patterns of Arts and Crafts designer William Morris, especially his famous textile titled Strawberry Thief. She will individually sculpt thousands of leaf, flower, fruit and bird forms, which will be connected into an interlocking three dimensional wallpaper pattern that will span over 100 square feet. The plant elements will be made of the same materials as my previous work: reclaimed wood from deconstructed homes, or ornate picture frames, rulers, decorative fruit, toys, and cooking utensils. No found object will be easily recognizable. The pieces in the center of this installation will be harmonious, but as your eye moves towards the edges and to the parts growing onto the adjacent wall and floor, the flora and fauna will become more wild and unusual in form and behavior. These elements will break from their patterned routines, craning towards the light coming from the open ceiling above. A bird might now turn its head to peer at the viewer, a provocative object held in its beak. A monochromatic carpet will fill much of the floor space of the gallery, and it will be apparent that some of the vines coming from the main wall have been covered by this surface, similar to the black ground cloth we use to smother unruly growth on an urban plot of land. These vines have traveled beneath the surface, however, sprouting up in far corners again. Like the edges of the wall installation, these plants are slightly changed when they re-emerge. This not only is a nod to the long running themes in her own artwork, but also a nod to Morris, whose outspoken political views made him a controversial figure in his time.
One of Morris’s most famous quotes is: “Have nothing in your houses which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” As an homage to this concept, the components of this installation are actually wall-mounted brooches and tie-tacks. Eight pieces that extend from the wall to the floor are neckpieces.
Pfeifer will be unveiling this project in the final six weeks of production on her blog. In addition, all the work from this installation is being pre-sold via an online campaign through Kickstarter) This will be Pfeifer’s most intricate installation yet, so use Kickstarter funding to hire a team of professional jewelers and craftspeople to help me with the detailed construction work that this project requires.
For a video of the work-in-progress and more information click here
12 October–12 November 2010
Portland Building Installation Space
1120 SW 5th Avenue
Monday–Friday, 7 a.m.–6 p.m.
Sponsored by Regional Arts and Culture Council