My practice is a thematic exploration of consumption-related dysthymia, currently focused on the (mis)placement of adoration. My pieces convey elements of humor and irony by using traditional, labor-intensive processes to reinterpret disposable, mass-produced materials with the notion of reassigning value to nugatory consumer goods. These elements are culled from the stored contents of my parents’ basement and reconceived with the addition of collected paraphernalia and items purchased from the ubiquitous craft stores, dollar outlets, and thrift shops of suburbia. Building upon a foundation of craft taken from my upbringing, interior design background, and fine art training, I am investigating the duality of my relationship to the conventionally accepted hierarchy of art and craft which positions women’s work as the lowbrow province of hobby.
The submitted piece, Visibility Politics, is comprised of a 1959 anatomical model of a ‘woman’ without genitalia wearing a blindfold of justice denied set up inside her display box collaged with Planned Parenthood bumper stickers, the original ‘Introduction to Anatomy’ booklet, as well as song lyrics from Tupac Shakur’s ‘Keep Ya Head Up’, Digable Planets’ ‘La Femme Fétal’, and Bad Religion’s ‘Don’t Pray On Me’; from her right hand nineteen hangers (for the women’s suffrage amendment) spill into a birth control pill case, while her left holds a VeriQuick pregnancy test from Dollar Tree; included are also a Lefton albino rabbit figurine, white panties hand-embroidered with lyrics from Nirvana’s ‘Rape Me’, and the brown box ‘Optional Feature: The Miracle of Creation’ adapter kit for seven months pregnancy.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Sarah Rieser is a former interior designer who turned her mid-life health crisis into a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a part time adult/full time artist navigating the downward slope of debilitating illness and the imagined prosperity narrative of suburbia from the ‘studio’ at the end of her bed. For more than two years Sarah has been sheltering-in-place with her retired parents and has yet to murder either of them.
Though fiber will always be her first love, she creates across multiple mediums, including oil painting, house painting, and face painting. Her practice is funded through the commission of charcoal portraiture and handcrafted gifts (mostly of/for dogs and babies), as well as the production of upcycled jewelry, home goods, and seasonal décor for sale at arts & craft shows.
Sarah has been exhibiting in fine art galleries since 2012, including a solo show through The Art House Chicago. Her pieces have appeared in Werks Issue 3, Artistonish Issue 8, Residual Believers Issue 2, Quaranzine Volume IV, and ArtAscent Volume LVI contemporary visual art magazines. In 2022, Sarah’s work was on view at Stola Contemporary Art Gallery Chicago, DragonFLY Gallery and Creative Spaces Chicago, O’Hanlon Center for the Arts California, Site:Brooklyn Gallery New York, San Fernando Valley Arts and Cultural Center California, Koehnline Museum of Art at Oakton Community College, HMVC Gallery New York, Chicago Fine Art Salon, as well as Going Dutch Festival XII, Illinois’ annual celebration of female voices in the arts.
© Sarah E. Rieser