La MaMa is proud to present Power of Limits, a solo show at La MaMa Galleria by Alexis Myre who we first met last year at the La MaMa Meetups! Alexis took time out of her busy installation to answer 6 questions about her background in mathematics, jewelry making, and what it means to work at La MaMa.
1. Can you talk a bit about the role of mathematics in your work?I'm attracted to the aesthetics of mathematics. I love the rhythm and patterns of solving problems and the images formed from graphs and calculations. Mathematics shapes how we interpret and perceive the universe. We are subconsciously drawn to symmetry, pattern, and harmony existing in the natural world. Theorems and formulas provide a framework to comprehend things like infinity, dimension, and time. Part of the beauty of mathematics is its exploration of the same questions asked through art, spirituality, and anyone contemplating relationships of the surrounding world.
2. What led you to the materials that you're using in these new pieces?
I've been exploring these materials for 10 years. The technique has evolved, but what I love most about combining disparate materials is the parameters it creates in joining them together. It's problem solving in the most basic way. The parameters don't necessarily limit or constrain, they create new sets of parameters to work within, and this is where I feel most creative.
I took a workshop from the artist Kiff Slemmons a few years back called "Material as Metaphor,” and it continues to influence my work. Thinking of materials as part of the story… Pencil often represents logical systems, while thread connotes flexibility, softness, and connection. Harder materials of metal and plastic acknowledge the man-made and nod at the necessary rigidity of structure and core. Natural, found objects are left alone or altered sparingly, segmented perhaps, but are always recognizable, honoring their connection to a broader system.
3. Are there specific references or subjects in your wall works?
I think of the wall pieces as narrative landscapes. Some are direct responses to ideas I don't fully understand, concepts like infinity, imaginary numbers, the way natural systems follow rhythmic patterns or how understanding something in facts and concrete terms doesn't mean the depth is fully comprehended. Some reference a specific idea and others are a general inquiry.
4. How do you think your background in jewelry making has affected your sculptures?
Detail. And avoiding glue.
Glue is a major no-no in jewelry, it is a very weak joint. It's about integrity and craft when it comes to jewelry and metal-smithing, I hold these standards in my work and love the forms and detail that come from working like this, where most of the elements are functional. The better the joint the more attractive it is to me.
5. Do you have a favorite piece in the show?
I love the sculptures with personality, like little organisms or pets from someplace else. They are usually put together from "scraps" or bits and pieces that I fabricated but didn't end up using in another piece. They come from the other work, but they’re more spontaneous, and are even a surprise to me with how they turn out. That's the exciting part of making art, what comes out of us that we didn't realize was there.
6. What does working at La MaMa Galleria mean to you?
The painter Pat Steir said to me once that "eyes on the work give it breath" I believe in that. Being able to show work is a way to communicate with people. The experimental ethos of La MaMa lends itself to emerging artists and encourages a broad spectrum of art. There is an ease to La MaMa Galleria, their exhibitions come from a authentic place.
February 04 - February 21, 2016
Gallery Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 1 to 7PM, or by appointment
La MaMa Galleria | 47 Great Jones St.
Alexis Myre’s artworks are each a small universe: a sphere in which natural materials, geometric patterns, and symbolic references all mingle.