Balancing Act

Stephanie Hargrave Equality, porcelain, birch, encaustic

Stephanie Hargrave at Shift Gallery through Sunday, Feb. 25 2018

Hargrave’s solo exhibition Obeisance / Derision is a balancing act. One section honors nature, the other mocks the current administration.

Obeisance was first an application proposing an environment bowing down to nature using wood, beeswax, clay, metal, paper, yarn, thread and cotton string. The project would combine skills Hargrave had honed as a jeweler, ceramist and painter, as well as her childhood preoccupation – crochet. In August 2017, she received a project grant from the International Encaustic Artists, and soon got to work.

Derision is political. It was simply unavoidable. As much as she tried to go about her work, the political climate was relentlessly distracting – a farce of unbelievable proportions. Her work began reflecting how she felt. From her statement, “the pieces emphasize my strong feelings about women’s rights and equality for all regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or immigration status.” With titles like Unity, Hope, Equality, Complicit, and #MeToo, she is addressing her concerns, but admits the list is far from complete.

Taken as a whole, the show espouses the idea that the very act of art making is political. It is a way to hold what she loves most, and despises most, simultaneously. This is how she deals with both her endless fascination with the natural world, and her dislike for our country’s political climate.

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