LAURA KNIES


Polar Opposite
Video // Yarn, chicken wire, fabric
2017


ARTIST STATEMENT

Making work that is vivid and rich with pigment is what I am most attracted to because I enjoy the amusing element that it delivers. When I am working with multi colored materials, my work expands into an entity that I can become excited about. Planning ahead is limiting and my work has a better outcome when I work instinctively. My artwork usually “tells me” what to do next, and if I’m unsure of what the next step is, I can alleviate my frustration by speaking to another artist or browsing through images of artwork. This creates a springboard in my mind that assists me in reaching the next step in a project. If I am forced to plan ahead in my work, and do not have the option to be intuitive, it can hinder my process. I end up thinking too hard about about small details that I believe are not worth my time. If I use a process that I am able to execute more instinctively, then I have an advantage, and the work will not take as much time to make.

The colors and patterns of the materials that I work with are of high importance. I collect items that I find aesthetically pleasing, and I create a collection with them. I have a rather eclectic style, so I am aware that if I choose a printed fabric or thread from my collection, that they will pair well together. Having options and a multitude of colors makes me feel calm and increases my productivity. I would not be able to create something as near as exciting if I were using materials that consisted of neutrals. My mind is not able to find these materials as nearly aesthetically pleasing, so the outcome of the work would not be nearly as exciting as it could be with my eclectic collection.

The materials obtained are usually donated and rarely bought, which makes the cost of my process low. Using recycled materials is important to me because the world creates so much waste and I know that I can create objects with unwanted items. I would rather use a material for my work that has been in existence, rather than a brand new one (although I do use store bought materials as well), because those materials can have a new life. I get this inspiration from artist Tony Cragg who works with recycled plastic. Tony Cragg finds his plastic pieces on the beach, and I find myself repeating the same process, but in thrift stores and when I am walking from place to place. I always keep my eyes open for potential materials, because I am aware that they can be found anywhere.

I am creating spaces and installations that are relaxing, accommodative, and sensory based for all of my viewers. I do this by making considerate decisions when installing and placing the objects. Wall pieces are hung lower on the wall so that children, and those alike, are able to interact with the work. The spaces are vibrant and alive with color, which I believe, makes them inviting and may have a connotation that it is meant for children.

On the other hand, I am also discovering how I can create environments that are the exact opposite of the calming, relaxing installations. The latest installation I have created is titled Polar Opposite I, because it is a stressful and psychedelic environment. The installation is overwhelming and attacks all of the senses. This is similar the calming installations, because each sense is activated, but in a gentle, calming way.

When I am working in the studio and I “invent” a new process, I also create a system to make that process more efficient and easy to understand. This is only possible once I have refined the process and smoothed out the problems and obstacles. At this point, I typically create an assembly line. For example, If I am sewing and then stuffing a large amount of shapes,I will:
1. Cut and straight pin about ten to twenty shapes.
2. Sew each shape together and remove the pins.
3. Turn each shape inside out.
4. Stuff each shape.
5. Hem each shape at the stuffing entry ways.

This process is simplified to make it easier to explain. The systems become more complicated when I am working with a process that I created on my own, and usually does not involve a sewing machine. Each sculpture I make is composed of at least one large system, and several “mini-systems”, which may include inserting one-hundred screws through a large, wooden circle. Constructing a sculpture can be less problematic if I create a system for building each piece because there are typically several components to each work.

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