Grantee:  Brenda Mallory
Native Ancestry:  Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma
Location: Portland, Ore.
Award:  2016 National Artist Fellowship
Discipline:  Visual Arts
Web Site:

Brenda Mallory is an installation artist who creates sculptural wall works. She uses organic materials such as cloth and beeswax or discarded materials that she disassembles and then reassembles with hardware and welded steel to signify disruption. The broken lines and patterns within her works are metaphorical and Mallory renders the repair appearance in her work as symbolic—‘seamingly’ making fragmentation whole again from the harm of strife and intrusion, whether her subject is nature, social issues or life.

Mallory considers herself a late-bloomer as a self-employed artist, but the rising trajectory of her career is impressive. Since 2002 Mallory has been exhibiting in solo and group exhibitions. She has received a residency at Oregon’s Crows Shadow Institute of the Arts, and a fellowship from the Eiteljorg Museum. Her work appears in several publications and she currently mentors MFA students in local colleges and art schools.

Mallory felt that she experienced a cultural loss through her family’s forced assimilation but she now realizes her link to her Cherokee traditions—disjointed as it may be—have been maintained through the recollection of the hunting, wild food gathering and farming techniques she learned as a child. Some of her earlier works stemmed from these childhood experiences and addressed concerns about environmental issues including GMO produce and corporate farming practices that also disrupt and cause imbalances to surrounding eco-systems. That work coincided with the rising popularity in organic foods and healthier food choices that have led to more sustainable and conscientious farming practices of today.

Mallory’ s next artistic endeavor during her NACF National Artist Fellowship will be using materials gathered from her GLEAN Artist-in-Residence experience to produce installations of sculptural wall work that examines mass production, consumption and waste (GLEAN program’s goals are to prompt people to think about their consumption habits, inspire creative reuse and initiate larger conversations about the waste we generate).

I try to make work that alludes to the idea of loss, hope, and resiliency.

~ Brenda Mallory