United States of America
Geometry of Labor
During her residency in ‘ace Leslie Multcher, Assistant Professor, Area Head 2D Foundations, University of Texas at Austin. USA., inquired about the culture of Buenos Aires and, from this search, is interested in working with notions of wealth/materialism- abundance/waste in clear opposition to poverty and the need to collect the leftovers from the first, looking in there those materials liable to be recycled. At this point she is very engaged and interested in the livelihood of the cartoneros, unemployed people who collect carton/board and other recyclable materials to resell in order to make a very modest income.
As much of her previous installation work is concerned with the material being recycled or reused from installation to installation, in the project at ‘ace the artist will reinforce the concept proposing that after deinstallation of the piece happens, the pieces are set outside for the cartoneros to collect and recycle.
My research is a theoretical and practical investigation of order and chaos filtered through my own desire and drive for order. I locate my work in the context of humanity’s drive for ideals, and by extension, the cultural fascination with Utopia in all its forms. In many ways, these ideals seem epitomized by modernist architecture so I appropriate the work of figures like Le Corbusier and Niemeyer to place my work in a historical context. Like these modernist predecessors, my work begins and ends with a sincere desire to learn and understand perfection; however, in my case this involves being both critical and skeptical of this impulse.
To realize this research in a physical form, I build structures, landscapes, and objects of attempted-perfection, utilizing paper (once fresh, now recycled) as a primary material. In my practice the use of the model has become the perfect vehicle for idealist thinking, for it is a proposal largely dependent on a viewer’s imagination and optimism, and so might be the form that embodies perfection most completely. I am fascinated that a utopian vision is always just beyond reach and that the drive for perfection is often impractical, difficult, and futile.
1971 | Born in the USA.
Lives in Austin, Texas, USA.
2004 | MFA, Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia. Pennsylvania, USA.
2002 | Bachelor in Fine Arts, Printmaking, with a minor in Art History (cum laude), Kent State University, Kent. Ohio, USA.
2011 | (F)utility Kitchen, Snowflake Gallery, St. Louis. Missouri, USA.
OverGrowth, Cactus Bra SPACE, San Antonio. Texas, USA.
Adapted Utopia, Crane Arts Center. Philadelphia, USA.
Catalogue/Build, Harvey Gallery, Miami University, Middletown. Ohio, USA.
2011 | Caldera Sisters. Oregon, USA.
Southwest School of Art and Craft, San Antonio. Texas, USA.
Frans Masereel Centrum. Kasterlee, Belgium.
Geometry of Labor
Geometry of Labor, an installation by the artist Leslie Mutchler, explores complicated issues related to work and labor through the construction of simpliﬁed cardboard objects.
The labor of the artist is a surrogate experience used to explore and exaggerate the disparate, yet similar, way of life within a multi-class system. Drawing from her observations as an outsider in Buenos Aires, the artist investigates the production, distribution, and ﬁnal disposition of material goods. She simulates cottage industry in terms of making, presents multiple modes of commerce from high-end design shop to unlicensed street vendors, and ﬁnally upcycles the entire installation with the aid of the cartoneros, local collectors and resellers of cardboard.
Material wealth is commonly associated with the accumulation of objects. Geometry of Labor calls attention to the fact that these objects, however, live in a constant state of physical and economic ﬂux- as their relationship to the environment and their function or aesthetic value can become altered.
From beginning to end, the cardboard constructs hold value to the artist (the maker), the viewer, and thus the cartoneros. Geometry of Labor is a culmination of repetitive and tedious labor: several hundred woodblock prints, imprinted with a white pattern of isometric triangles on chipboard, were cut, scored, and formed into objects and low-relief wall decoration; sheets of corrugated cardboard are similarly transformed into functional and display furniture; and white rag paper becomes moulding to adorn the high ceiling of the gallery, calling attention to the architecture of the space.