The first lines of her artist statement made me want to know more:
“When I was 9 years old I wrapped the entire backyard in string. I wove the string from one branch to the next, over to the fence, back to the tree, around the trunk, over and around until this great web appeared. There were lines everywhere, joining different objects and cutting up space in strange ways. I felt completely enchanted with the new environment and excited knowing I could rearrange reality.”
Yes, Mary Button Durell is someone I want to know.
Layer Cone, tracing paper, wheat paste
These days Durell rearranges reality using tracing paper and wheat paste which she whips into sculptures that are at once organic and abstract, reminiscent of cellular structures, honeycombs and beehives.
Tunnel, tracing paper, wheat paste
Crater Cups, tracing paper, wheat paste
The translucent quality of the tracing paper figures significantly in her thought process when she designs each sculpture as it allows light to be a major player in the work.
“This body of work uses only tracing paper and wheat paste as material.
At first glance these pieces appear to be built onto a rigid wire frame, however, the process is much more organic and the structure is created from my own hand building.
Individual cells or cones that comprise most of the pieces are first formed over molds of various shapes and sizes and then joined together using wheat paste cell by cell.
Additional layers of paper and paste are then added for strength and reinforcement which creates the net-like structure around the individual cells.”
“The translucent quality of the tracing paper allows light to play a significant and dynamic role in the work. In combination with the physical structure of the work, this translucent quality creates an interior, as well as exterior, perspective.”
In The Studio
An interview with the artist on In The Make includes many luscious studio images.
“There’s a rawness and simplicity to her materials, she essentially only uses tracing paper and wheat paste, and her inspiration often comes in the form of singular, unexpected visions.
Though her process can be incredibly time-consuming it is decidedly straightforward, and yet it produces layered, imaginative, amorphous pieces that hint at the complexities and fragilities of humanity and the natural world.” From the interview on In The Make
You can see Durell’s work on exhibit at La Boutique in San Francisco beginning June 8, 2012