CREATIVE CATALYST PROJECT: MICHELLE MONTJOY’S RIVER
March 25–July 9, 2017
We are proud to announce that local Oceanside artist Michelle Montjoy and OMA have been selected as one of five recipients of a Creative Catalyst grant from the San Diego Foundation. This is the second year in a row that OMA has received this honor and we are thrilled to be working with Montjoy and the San Diego Foundation.
River is the reimagining of traditional techniques and attitudes of knitting into a contemporary role that connects communities through comfort, inspiration and empowerment. Using large table top looms or finger crocheting forms, the community will be invited to contribute to a visual conversation by knitting or crocheting, braiding or knotting a form using old t-shirts. The resulting unusual abstract piece of art will be installed as an exhibit and will embrace the connection, fluidity, and vitality of the many hands of the community involved. The multiplicity of those hands’ work becomes a conversation. Not nostalgic or sentimental, the artwork is a translation of domestic form to cultural object. It’s a retro-revolutionary approach to engagement and art making.
“Employing absurdity, obsessiveness, and abnormal juxtapositions, my work observes suburban tropes, personal failings, and political paradoxes,” describes Montjoy of her work.
A number of free workshops and programs have happened throughout the year in conjunction with the exhibition that will open March 25, 2017.
With familiar materials and techniques, I make objects and images that are often simultaneously haunting and whimsical. Employing absurdity, obsessiveness, and abnormal juxtapositions my work observes suburban tropes, personal failings, and political paradoxes.
My recent work explores ideas about aging, parenting, relationships and habitual behaviors in both tiny delicate sewn drawings and large knitted environments and sculptures. I am interested in the memories invoked by smell of the pieces, the desire to touch and climb into the forms, their heavy sag that elicits a sigh. I straddle beauty, whimsy and content with pieces that may resemble arms, columns, trees or stalactites. After the knitting construction I modify the forms into a site specific installation. In the immersive installation the scale, the abstraction of the forms, the muffling of sound, and the smell of thrift stores invite multiple narratives. The familiarity of the materials and methods produce a strong desire to touch, which I encourage. The space is a combination of memory and place, both familiar and not, referencing individual and collective process.
As I was making the large installation pieces I enlisted the help of many of my friends and family to complete the work on oversize hand-built tabletop knitting looms. What I discovered is the act of gathering people to make something has a giant power of its own. The commonality of the desire unites very different types of people, not unlike eating at a communal table. In an age of virtual and light-based encounters; using your hands, spending real time doing it, and using repurposed materials is an almost counter-culture event. There is a tangible mark for every person’s moment of time spent on the loom—an accomplishment, an investment, and also a recognition of time passing. The work becomes a collection of all of those moments, enhanced by the history and stories held in the used t-shirts.
FREE PROGRAMS RELATED TO THIS EXHIBITION