June Featured Artists
June 3rd- 24th, 2016
Opening Reception: June 3rd, 6-10pm
Sarah Blackmon Lips
I spend a lot of time thinking about boundaries and identities. My own, others', how they might shift and change in an instant or over a lifetime. In these carved paintings, colorful shapes become regions, lines become motes separating or channels connecting, and whole compositions seek to loosely chart what overlaps, conflicts, or separates. I add interests, responsibilities, and roles with gouache, and subtract the same with chisels.
“Marry Me,” a collection of 6 dresses total divided into 2 sub collection categories, Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. The bottles were collected from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Airman and Family Readiness Center (FRC). AFRC is an outreach facilities providing many types of services and programs that assists those affiliated with the military. The bottles were cut and shrunk by heat, tinted by permanent marker and riveted in a shingling type technique. The plastic shingles were shaped in three different ways: manually, riveting and heating.
These plastic dresses are a representation of military spouses. Majority of spouses are women. Immediately I had the vision of floating see through dresses as the theme, a theme I was able to encompass the depth of a spouse’s journey. A seasonal dress collection is capturing the lighter aspects of a military spouse, a life style of ceremonies, functions, and events. The transparency of the material and the rivets is to create an appearance of both delicacy and strength. The transparency of the dresses symbolizes the vulnerability of the “spouses,” questioning self-identity, purpose and self-worth. The rivets are the menders, identifying and reminding the important key role of a military spouse. The plastic shingles are the bottles collected from AFRC that once belonged to a spouse, a child, a member, a family, a therapist, social worker etc. who’s stories are both beautiful and dark, happy and sad. The overlapping of the shingles is a representation of a support system, each one supporting one another. The floating appearance represents self-sustainability and resiliency. The dresses are to give the viewers the curiosity to want more from the dresses. Perhaps an identity they can place within the dress, behind the dress or on themselves.
As an Art Therapist and Artist my goal was to challenge the areas of psychology and design. I found something intriguing in these bottles. In a meeting at AFRC, I saw the beauty in it all. I realized the bottles carried a story from the lips who drank them. This had inspired me to move forward with the ideas of building a sculpture out of plastic bottles. It became more than an idea. I challenged myself with the material by making trash into fine art and turning design into complicated layers of psychology and discovery.
You could say that I am obsessed with patterns. My mind gravitates toward geometric configurations and repeating shapes. They de-focus my visual understanding and transport my thoughts. Looking into the concentric shapes of a mandala, or other kaleidoscopic art forms, generates a trance-like state which allows me to tune in to my true self.
In turn, the work I make functions as a catalyst for the viewer's own meditative experience. The Mandala Manifesto series invites the viewer's eye to lose focus long enough to look back on itself and tap into something beyond the arrangement in front of them.
These works consist of hand rendered designs using drafting tools, acrylic paint, and patience on canvas. By hanging each mandala on its corner, the orientation provides more dynamic and encourages the eye to read the patterns as expanding outward. I finish each with a handmade frame stained with a paint color from the pallet. A background in art and design, a proclivity for ritual, and a fascination with cosmic patterns and metaphysical concepts have influenced the art I create and how I make it.
For me, art is a meditative practice, and one that is constantly bringing me closer to understanding who I am.
Where will my work take you?
I am a Durham-based artist whose surface design-influenced work is distinguished by multiple layers of texture, color and pattern. I draw inspiration from my surroundings, particularly the people and the ways they express their identity.
I combine craft, design, printmaking, and painting techniques in the hopes of creating work that focuses less on the outward appearance of things and more on their inner significance. Each piece is an exploration where emotion transcends the substrate and the viewer is asked to rethink what they see.
I watch my boys hone their motor skills using scissors to cut paper shapes. Then they glue and tape it down to create their own masterpieces--pure love of creation. Using paper, glue and tape, I have returned to that love. I chop and bond animation, design, illustration, painting and sculpture to create work that pulls from my heritage, experience and pop culture.
Piecing together moments in time that overlap to evoke thoughts, feelings, and nostalgia, my vision pops off the wall with a visual language full of animated hues, crafty textures and quirky graphics. Color and textures extrude dimension, volume and dynamic imagery.