Visiting Amanda Browder’s PRISM/LIVIN/ROOM at the Allegra LaViola Gallery last week, brought to mind some of my own [past] installation work as well as something surprisingly welcome; a challenging and original use of space. With offhand references to American quilt-making and artists, Ree Morton, and Wendy Jacob, Browder uses themes that involve the domestic and collective as a metaphor for the penetrative, warped quality of a chaotic, and conflicting yet ordered universe. Using donated fabric, Browder often works with a community of volunteers to help bring about her large sewn projects. The strongest of this collection of pieces is a pair of vintage chairs with swan-shaped armrests, layered in colorful banner flags, and bracketing a rough shaped picture window; a place from which to take in the view of uneven densely sewn pockets of fabric that sink back into the void of an invented cosmos. As in theater, we understand the ruse. Yet it’s a visual delight, and Browder playfully makes no attempt to hide the backstage ‘set’ from view; she moves us behind the thin sketchy wood frame of a side door, revealing how far the receding pockets travel and how they connect and  other sculptural sewn-pieces (as well as images from Browder’s previous projects). The casual yet precise delivery of Browder’s visual world, provide unexpected pleasures that blend a bold personal aesthetic with a cosmic query.

Amanda Browder PRISM /LIVING ROOM

Amanda Browder PRISM /LIVING ROOM

Mandy Morrison, PADDED ROOM

Mandy Morrison, PADDED ROOM

Ree Morton

Wendy Jacob, SQUEEZE CHAIR

Wendy Jacob, SQUEEZE CHAIR

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