Daily Art Moment: Brenda Mallory

Proximate Parcels, Brenda Mallory, 70 x 34 x 4 inches, deconstructed thread spools and cores. A work composed of interlocking trapezoid shapes fitted together to form a vertical rectangle with six vertical rows of dark charcoal colored “stitching” running lengthwise. The trapezoid shapes are made up of red fibers, appear fluffy and vary in shades of deep red to tomato red. The edges of the work are uneven and undulate slightly with the shape of the trapezoids. The stitches embellish the trapezoid shapes but do not actually join them together.

The act of cutting something apart down to its core, effectively destroying its original function, but then reforming into a beautiful lush object reflects my interest in how things that are broken or disrupted are often still viable and lively.

Brenda Mallory, 2019

Brenda Mallory’s mixed media work, Proximate Parcels, is striking in many ways. The intense and vivid red color immediately demands our attention. The hue varies throughout the work, emphasizing a deep and inviting texture created by shaved spools of industrial sewing threads. The vertical broken lines, made with cut spool cores, appear as rough stitches in the lush field of reds, evoking associations of blood, wounds, and scars. The shapes created by the different reds also resemble an aerial view of a landscape divided into plots of land. Both readings reflect the artist’s intention of this work; the title refers to federal allotment policies that served to destroy the communal landholding of many tribes in the southeastern United States, including the Cherokee Nation. Eventually, the community was able to continue its cultural practices despite these efforts at destruction.

Kathleen Ash-Milby, Curator of Native American Art

Brenda Mallory (American and Cherokee, born 1955 ). Proximate Parcels, 2019. Deconstructed thread spools and cores. Museum Purchase: Funds provided by Arlene Schnitzer, 2020.2.1a,b ©

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