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Denton artists showcase collection ‘Identity’ to depict personal experiences of daily life

Denton artists showcase collection ‘Identity’ to depict personal experiences of daily life

Denton artists showcase collection ‘Identity’ to depict personal experiences of daily life
April 25
16:50 2022

Three Denton artists collaborated on an art project known as “Identity” to highlight the experiences they face that affect their everyday lives. The “Identity” collection exhibit featured sculptures, paintings and fiber artworks among others to portray the severity of challenges they face.

In early April, the “Identity” collection was shown at Denton Workbench, a gallery and retail space for artists to utilize a wide range of tools and necessary space for creating their next work.

Lauren Allen sews a project on the floor of her studio on March 23, 2022. Owen Oliver

Lauren Allen, photo and fiber artist and university MFA candidate, started to explore ideas of mental illness, specifically anxiety and depression as her work in graduate school has been built upon that foundation. Allen’s work focuses on translating and reconstructing memories of her experiences as a neurodivergent person also facing mental health concerns.

Allen said her current artwork for the “Identity” collection addressed the systematic errors and struggles that neurodivergent people must conform to in order to achieve a “safe environment” and a clear state of mind.

“Moving one’s body through this space and consistently forcing my brain to behave differently results in long-term traumatic effects,” Allen said. “Creek systems have been a consistent place where I seek solace and a lightened feeling of existence where I can communicate the complex feelings I have towards these spaces and the void they fill through abstract and blurred images.”

Allen uses fiber structures to package these experiences in order for the viewer to grasp a sense of familiarity. Fiber structures are grouped strings that can be used to build structures from clothing, building supplies and fine art. Using string to create structural integrity within her art pieces lends to ideas of fragility, strength and disposal, emotions neurodivergent persons often experience.

Image source Saxon Martinez

Sculpting and performing artist Saxon Martinez is another member of the “Identity” collection, in which he creates art that is influenced by piñatas and Latinx culture. His techniques helped him empress his identity and to share it with others.

Martinez said the sculptures he constructs are aspects that reflect the exploration of his growing identity. He drew his inspiration from popular culture, religious symbols, architecture and different elements of warfare.

“I use the piñata as a way to talk about celebration and destruction throughout my work,” Martinez said. “Through the use of sculpture and performance, my practice discusses being a person of color, family, marginalization, perception of violence and trauma. By using the piñata, I rely on the interactive nature of the piñata to invite the viewer to touch, destroy, take or add onto the work.”

He drew his inspiration from popular culture, religious symbols, architecture and different elements of warfare.

Member of the project Shannon West, university graduate student and teaching assistant for the College of Visual Arts and Design, said her inspiration is ingrained in the title of the show, “Identity.”

“Speaking for myself, my work is about opening myself up and presenting my findings to others,” West said. “Our motivations and inspirations are unique to the individual, so it is nice to see a collection of independent artworks based on the same theme.”

Featured Image: Denton artist Lauren Allen sits at her loom on March 23, 2022. Photo by Owen Oliver

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Christian Hollingsworth

Christian Hollingsworth

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