“In her works, haunting vignettes of half-told stories are littered with crocheted entrails and vines of thick, cloying mud that evoke a sense of elegant foreboding. They deal with a sense of vague narrative that, through abstraction, finds archetype; her installations whisper of timelessness, of a buried, invisible power that runs below the surface of the world that we cavalierly inhabit. ” —Tessa Hulls, Redefine Magazine
Mandy Greer: Bio
Mandy Greer is a Seattle-based multi-disciplinary artist who creates heightened narrative space through fiber-based installation, photography, performance, film and community-based action. In 2012, she was awarded the Arts Innovator Award from Artists Trust/The Dale and Leslie Chihuly Foundation. In 2011 she was awarded the prestigious Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, and an installation at Centro di Cultura Contemporanea at Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Italy. She has been awarded 4Culture Individual artist grants, City Artist Grants and Artist Trust GAP grants multiple times, as well as an Artist Trust Fellowship. In the Northwest, she has shown at Henry Art Gallery, Bellevue Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, Frye Art Museum, Seattle Art Museum and Roq la Rue Gallery. Nationally, she has shown at Bucheon Gallery and The Lab Contemporary Art Center, in San Francisco, the Tampa Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Craft, in Portland, Catalyst Project in Washington, D.C. and Aqua Art Miami. She has been featured and reviewed in many publications including the New York Times, Hi-Fructose Magazine, Redefine Magazine, Seattle Magazine, Art Ltd, Art Week, TextilKunst Seattle Magazine and the cover of Fiberarts Magazine. Her ongoing project -- site-embedded crocheted installation and community action -- Mater Matrix Mother and Medium has traveled from Seattle to Agnus Scott College, Herbert Bayer Earthworks, Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, NY and traveled the Northwest with the 4 Culture SITE SPECIFIC program.
Since 2012, she’s done residencies in Iceland and France. In Fall 2013, Mandy was invited to create an installation and performance for the international fiber installation exhibition MINIARTEXTIL, in Como Italy. She premiered an elaborate construction engaging with the entire 17th century theater inside Villa Olmo, on the banks of Lake Coma, as well as a haunting performance collaboration with her husband artist Paul Margolis and their child. The installation/performance traveled to Paris in Spring 2014.
In 2014, she premiered new installations, photography and films in a solo exhibition at The Hudson River Museum, NY, which was reviewed in the New York Times, Huffington Post and Hyperallergic.
In 2015, Mandy attended Caldera Artist Residency in Sisters Or. with a New Foundation Residency Grant and support from the Sustainable Arts Foundation.
My name is Mandy Greer. I’m a visual artist; installation, mixed-media, multi-disciplinary, fiber, public art, community-based process-oriented performance, site-integrated eco installations, wearable and theatrical. And I like seeking out ways to blur the distinctions between all of these. The process of becoming at home in my skin as a mother has been a side-by-side lesson for how to become at home in my skin as an artist. It means playing many roles at once and wanting to do more than is possible, allowing everything to influence me – not just what I think should, and realizing the great fruitfulness of blending the boundaries between family life and art making, while working hard to make peace with the limitations parenthood requires.
My materials have always been discarded domestic items that I’ve stripped of their original purpose, value and meaning, to repurpose them to tell stories by creating environments. When I was pregnant, 9 years ago, a great shift seemed to begin in my work; the stories began to be about my relationship with my husband, my changing body and identity, but told through the lens of archetypes, mythology and folk tales. What I was experiencing had happened before; and it is these ordinary human experiences that perpetually reoccur that then become mythos. The actual details of my internal narratives aren’t so important; I want to explore this paradox of each life being inimitable yet we all in someway fit into an archetype, legend or mythology.
Important career opportunities seemed to happen right when I had my son, so I really seemed to have no choice but to blend motherhood and making, as I rocked a newborn in my lap while crocheting or stitching small things to accumulate into a massive installation. My husband, Paul Margolis, a fiber artist also, loves his night job as a King County Metro transit operator and felt more pulled to raising a child than accumulating lines on a resume; he set aside his own practice in order to co-parent and take on the role of helpmate to my vision. Initially we both saw him as an assistant, but through the years we have evolved into collaborators. I have been inspired by his ability to make art without needing to call attention to it, or even call it art.
We now see ourselves as all being artists, the three of us trading ideas and working together. We are a homeschooling family, so what I am researching/reading influences my son’s unconventional and creative education, and what fascinates him opens me up to things I have never imagined. I grew up as a nomad because of the Air Force, but landed in the Northwest because of the dramatic landscape, brooding winters and grad school. I’m at home in Seattle because it teeters on the boundary between a dynamic fabricated urban scene and lush wild natural environment, and I can’t decide where I belong. My whole childhood I was reading a book or making something, mostly from my own toys or clothes, and my practice as an artist has at its foundations a few summers at a Girl Scout Arts and Crafts camp where I learned to dabble in everything and become a jack-of-all-trades. As a family, we are avid gardeners and autodidacts and wanderers, thriftstore junkies, caretakers of a cat and two rescue dogs, and Halloween is always a big deal.
Lately I’ve been thinking about stones and stars, witch ladders and knots, braiding and twisting and spinning of hair, gold, honey, drawing on skin, a lightening strike to the heart, a hum in the throat, cycles of comets and cherry blossoms, light, androgyny, ecstasy, minerals, wool, gray hair, trolls, mud, desire and the beauty of aging.