The essence of my practice thrives on the interaction with new communities by exploring what it means to establish roots within an unfamiliar environment. With each new location, I conduct a careful investigative method that involves the gathering of regional materials, native plants, local stories and historic research. I employ this process to create site-generated works of art that illuminate the unobserved in our day-to-day surroundings and the challenges facing our environment. I am intrigued with the process of creating a controlled environment where the work organically develops and changes over time. Building from this foundation, my work represents the daily flux and naturally occurring entropy surrounding us, while exploring how memory and time simultaneously erode and enhance the interpretations of our experiences.
For “Deeply Rooted” I am proposing works from a long-time series of handmade paperwork titled “Drawing Roots,” which combine the process of making paper with hydroponics. Interested in embedding time within the structure of a material, I pioneered a technique within the traditional methods of making flax paper from recycled linen by planting flax seeds on the surface of the wet pulp. When the seeds germinate, their roots migrate below, etching their way into the paper creating a network of spidery lines reminiscent of neurons caught in the process of transmitting information. Drying the pulp out and pressing the sprouts into the paper captures this form of mark-making, producing an improvisational set of drawings representative of a moment caught in time. The metaphor behind a medium giving birth to itself by planting the flax seeds within flax paper illustrates the intricacies of maintaining sustainable living practices within an environment that has been irrevocably altered by human industrialism and the onslaught of indigenous communities by rampant colonialism under the guise of progress.
The work exemplifies Agnes Denes’ seminal project “Rice/Tree/Burial” where she planted rice in a field that mutated due to toxins in the soil. “Drawing Roots” builds on this concept by illustrating how everything created is eventually recycled back into the earth, which in turn is re-constituted back into ourselves. In the hopes of cleansing the past, and looking forwards to the future.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Michele Brody was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1967. Since graduating with a BA from Sarah Lawrence College in 1989, and an MFA from the Fibers and Material Studies Department at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1994, she has maintained a full-time studio/exhibition practice as a mixed-media community-based environmental artist.
Her practice has thrived on collaborating with a range of communities in France, Germany, Costa Rica, Taiwan, Chicago and her home of The Bronx on a process of being present within a place in order to affect change in a range of media and forms generated by local stories, history, culture, nature and architecture. Notable one-person shows in NYC include the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Chashama, Littlejohn Contemporary and the artist-run spaces of JVS Project Space and AAA3A. Other venues include the FlatFile Galleries, Chicago, IL; Temple Judea Museum, Elkins Park, PA; Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga, TN; Dina4 Projekte, Munich, Germany; Karpio + Facchini Gallery, Miami, Fl; El Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporaneo, San Jose, Costa Rica; and at Le Quai de la Batterie, Atelier-galerie d’Art Contemporain, Arras, France.
Michele Brody has received a grant or residency almost every year as a professional artist from the Pollock/ Krasner Foundation, NYFA, NYSCA, Bronx Council on the Arts, Skowhegan, Headlands Center for the Arts, Ox-Bow, Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program and most recently Wave Hill Garden and BronxArtSpace. In 2006 she completed two public art commissions in The Bronx for the MTA and DOE, and was awarded Best 3-D Entry at the 2011 International Art Prize competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan by juror Glenn Harper of Sculpture Magazine for her installation “Nature Preserve” at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art.
© Michele Brody”Buy