Uprooted, 2020

dry rotted cotton strips, white cording, yarn, other discarded threads and cotton strips, fake sinew, wooden reeds, dried moss, suture cotton thread, worn bed sheets, dipped in unfired red earthenware, patched with shellac and hung on a strip of wood

Dimensions: 72” x 26” x 6”

Images courtesy of the artist

April Wright

Lexington, Kentucky apriljwright.org

I use humble everyday materials to simulate fragile moments that live in between abandonment and renewal, connecting emotional and physical landscapes of home. Inspiration is drawn from emotional support systems that inhabit domestic spaces and empathy of loss from fragile narratives. In my process there remains ever present, a cyclical act of accumulating, repurposing, and building. My installations and sculptures are precarious and redolent with gestures of longing for stability within the home.

Gaston Bachelard stated that “homes are in us as much as we are in them.” My concept of home represents an ambivalence, as a space that can be supportive and nurturing, and at the same time oppressive and disorienting. In my work, I express complex relationships in a space where melancholy is materialized. For instance, hollow paper cinder blocks stand in for emotional boundaries, while disjointed paper casted window frames collapse into diverse perspectives. Using repurposed, discarded materials to create metaphors for emotional support structures, the work expresses this ambivalent urgency to bury the past, while existing in the present with resilient adaptability.

The materials that I primarily use are clay, paper, and fiber because they are easily accessible and are a part of everyday life. I also appreciate how elemental and easily overlooked they become as an everyday material. Some discarded materials used are shredded clothing from the inside of a punching bag, and reclaimed clay shavings. The physical properties of my materials which were once delicate and flexible are now stiff and dried. Essentially, we touch clay every day; from the ceramic plates off of which we eat, to the coffee cup we hold as we read, to the porcelain sinks and toilets that we use daily. I am interested in using clay in its broken-down stages to highlight the elemental tactility of the material as traces and remnants of human lived experiences. Building from humble materials and abstracting them into metaphors of specific human experiences compels me to continuously search for redemptive moments in these fragile narratives.