signed, sealed, submitted & feeling smart

This is me, tonight, right after I finished applying for the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. YAY! I’ve been working on it for two weeks. Ah that’s why I haven’t been blogging.   (btw ~ what do you think of my new glasses?)

I haven’t applied for any grants in a long time. I have to say that for all the work I’m very pleased with my application. The competition is stiff since this is a nominated grant, so I won’t be disappointed if I’m not chosen. 150 artists are nominated for 25 awards. The important thing is that I submitted the best application possible for me at this time. If I win one of the $25,000 grants, I will be surprised… and thrilled of course.

Well for all that work I can at least post my 300 word statement on the blog. Click on the links for more information about the eight images submitted for the grant.

As a sculptor I’ve always been curious about the membrane or threshold between interior and exterior experience, which I call the “rhythm of attention.” I’ve been informed by other disciplines, notably the music of John Cage and the writing of Eileen Myles, whose work shares my interest in pattern and meaning.

A quilt is both a 3-dimensional and a 2-dimensional space. It unifies the visual waves of painting with the embodied elements of sculpture. I consider it a pure form for exploring the rhythm of attention, through which meaning exists and is discoverable.

My current work samples are, in a sense, scores for activating recuperative rhythms of attention. Outwardly, The Mantra Trailer is a score for collective civic discourse; inwardly for shifting repetitive resonance. (The visual interior of The Mantra Trailer is hand-quilted in golden silk, but has never been photographed, not even for my documentation, because its sacred interior space exists beyond spectacle.) Passage Quilting is a score for experiencing the transformational patterns of bereavement. Group Stitching Mantra is a score for experiencing trance, and connectedness with others through shared, independent action and vocalization. The Geography of Mending  follows an unpredictable score, created by habit and use. The improvised personal rhythms of Mod Mood or RGB Modern, in contrast to the natural rhythms of chance and randomness in I Ching Modern, ignite very different attention patterns as they are made and viewed.

My purpose for creating this work is restorative. These attention activating sculptures all reveal meaning, and all contain the blessing– that is, the caring touch– of the hand. They unify interior and exterior through a process that involves time and devotion. These are slow, humble, complex objects made by bodies, resonating with deep rhythms of attention that are easily lost in the age of the screen.

20th Century Comfort Room, 1998, Headlands Center for the Arts
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15 Responses to signed, sealed, submitted & feeling smart

  1. Michele says:

    Inspiring Sherri, thank you for sharing this. I really appreciate how you so poetically blend all parts of yourself and embody your art. Your inner light is bright and healing.

  2. Dad says:

    Whatever others see, feel and think of your creative soul…That is me times a thousand!

  3. Erika says:

    Sheri Lynn,

    Your work is beautiful, rich, rythmic, shining. But, the thing that makes it so beautiful is that it’s all shared. Thank you for your generosity in posting your processes here so that I can share them with you by doing them myself. I was struck by how much I emotionally responded to the fact that, as I read through the images, I could see that each process was shared. That is, each piece became more beautiful as I incorporated the sharing into my understanding.

    That’s how I want to live.

  4. Ching says:

    Love love your new glasses.You look so happy that I can feel the joy too.
    I am so excited for you.
    Crossing my fingers and toes.

  5. I love your new specs! Keeping all my digits crossed for your grant, you truly deserve it, talented soul that you are x

  6. Chesley says:

    Best of luck. I love the directness of your statement.
    Your glasses are tres chic!

  7. Felicitas says:

    Hi Sherri,
    I keep my fingers crossed for your grant. Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Greetings from Germany

  8. Heather says:

    Oh, and the other thing I love is that you identify as a sculptor. I used to say the same thing about my work, that it was sculpture- it was more overtly 3-dimensional then, but as I got flatter people became somewhat confused. I remember one of my teachers saying that the space between two and three dimensions was relatively unexplored territory. I find the depth and texture of stitching an exciting space to play in.

  9. Heather says:

    Wonderful clear and eloquent artist statement. And such great work! I don’t think I had seen the crocheted room before. It is quite satisfying to look back at one’s work over the years and see that it does indeed have a coherence and integrity. I’m crossing my fingers for you!

  10. Victor says:

    Best of luck on the grant. I’ll try to send up some karma when I’m on Mt. Tam tomorrow. The timing of your post is eerie since I’m kind of going through the same process with writing a book proposal/query letter. It’s time consuming and I’m finding it harder than the actual writing of the book. More timing: I’m trying to decide on stylish frames for my own eyeglass prescription. Time to upgrade from my cheap Walgreens reading glasses. Love your choice – the sexy librarian look!….Take care

  11. Kristin L says:

    Good luck with the grant! I particularly appreciate how you have brought together the many facets of your creativity into one approachable theme. I aspire to be so eloquent in my disparate bodies of work.

  12. Julierose says:

    WOW–what a body of work, very impressive; and I like the way they all grow one out of the other–just lovely. I wish you the best of luck in winning your grant. Julierose

  13. Chris Moon says:

    What a fabulous artist statement! I am in love with your vision – and the clarity of your design framework.

    Sometimes I read artist statements and I come away with “WTF?” Not the case with your statement at all. I get it. And your work is true to your statement.

    I dream of discovering my own “method to the madness” and worry that I don’t have the ability to be that introspective without forcing an artificial framework on my thought process. Although that just means everything is random, then? And how depressing is that?

    Anyway, congratulations on the nomination and here’s lots of prayer and other sorts of positive cosmic energy headed your way! Take care (and love the snappy glasses!) –

    • Thank you Chris, It’s very very encouraging to hear that my artist statement makes sense and sounds true to others. Don’t worry about your ability to create the frame. Just keep trying (but not too hard) and keep doing the work that you do. It’s taken me years of trying, and frustration, to finally see the bigger picture of my own work. Don’t worry about the randomness. Eventually it will come together for you. It doesn’t mean there isn’t a thread to your vision – it is still being revealed to you that is all.

  14. Your glasses make you look smart and sassy. Thanks for sharing your application. You have quite an impressive body of work to back up your application. Good luck!

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