Grantee: Brenda Mallory
Native Citizenship: Cherokee Nation
Location: Portland, Oregon
Award: 2020 Mentor Artist Fellowship
Discipline: Contemporary Visual Arts
Social Media: Instagram
Brenda Mallory’s sculptural works are comprised of a variety of materials, including cloth, fibers, beeswax, and found objects. By creating multiple forms that are joined with crude hardware that imply tenuous connections or repairs, her work addresses ideas of interference and disruption in long-established systems of nature and human cultures. Her process represents the act of bringing a sense of order or unity to a chaotic environment.
To illustrate these ideas, Mallory emphasizes the stitching or the bolts that re-form the “broken” pieces of art she makes and other objects she finds to piece together. Her work is labor-intensive, with her hand apparent in the sewing and re-constructing processes, using hardware or mechanical devices in ways that imply aberration or malformation.
Mallory has exhibited her work widely throughout the Pacific Northwest and United States, and is the recipient of several awards and residencies. In addition, she is an educator who has dedicated her time to teaching and mentoring students and emerging artists in the Portland, Oregon area.
For the 2020 Mentor Artist Fellowship, Mallory will work with her apprentice, Lehuauakea (Kanaka Maoli [Native Hawaiian]), to produce works to share in a joint exhibition in the Pacific Northwest. She will also offer Lehuauakea invaluable professional development opportunities by sharing her knowledge of navigating the contemporary art world as a Native artist, application processes, promotion, commercial and non-profit gallery relationships, residencies, and the best practices of being in the “business” to build a career that is not only financially viable, but critically and culturally relevant and true to one’s ideals.
I like to see repairs, mends, the evidence of struggle, the resilient act of pulling order from chaos.
– Brenda Mallory