Listen to the artist:
Seat cushions on a thrift store shelf, boxed-up clothing from my grandmother’s garage, an earring that lost its pair, and antique dinnerware—secondhand items are artifacts of modern day consumerism, the fast fashion industry, and the cyclical nature of style. These items are normally seen as static relics of the past. Through sculpture, Gabriella Grill highlights the memory embedded within these discarded fossils, and give the objects renewed energy.
Grill manipulates old clothing by cutting them into scraps and stitching them into new forms by hand. Grill embeds jewelry in concrete. The artist casts etched dishware in brightly-colored silicone. Working with multiple objects in any one work, the artist creates inclusive memorials.
When an object is discarded, Grill facilitates its evolution. A dish found in a Philadelphia thrift store that is no longer used for eating is freed from its role as a tool. Stripped of its function, it can now be reconfigured. In their work, the dish retains a record of its past and becomes an element within a composite sampling of many dishes sharing similar stories. Together, the dishes reflect a cultural phenomenon of how people value belongings over time.
Grill’s sculptures emphasize cycles: the cycles of fashion trends, the cycle of reuse, the cycle of archaeological rediscovery, and ultimately the cycle of life. The story inscribed in the lives of objects is much like the story of human aging. Both humans and objects confront age, time, value, and a proclaimed period of peak vivacity. The artist rejuvenative monuments for and of devalued inanimate objects celebrate history, life, and new beginnings.
To learn more about Gabriella Grill’s work please visit their website and Instagram
View the exhibition catalogue
Kevin B. Chen
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