“Amidst a world of increasingly virtual encounters I want to emphasize the here and now by presenting visceral, texturally alluring, physically substantial, radically hand-made objects form consideration”. Stephanie Metz
Stephanie Metz is one of the most skilled artists working with the method of needle felting. She lives and works in San Jose, California. After receiving her BFA in Sculpture at the University of Oregon. She has exhibited internationally in San Francisco, San Jose, Stockholm, Singapore and now the UK. Metz was honoured with two Centre for Cultural Innovation Grants in 2011 and 2009.
Metz focuses on overly domesticated creatures, especially those whose form has overgrown their function. She uses the dry felt making technique of needle felting to dramatic effect, creating beautifully grotesque works that fascinate and unsettle simultaneously.
Metz’s ‘Flesh/Bone’ series, featured in Black Sheep are part of a new series of human-scale felted wool sculptures whose mysterious and organic forms and tactile surfaces invite the viewer to physically engage in observing and looking. This series references the body, from the soft weighty folds of flesh to the stripped down abstract architecture of bone structure. The sculptures evoke the clean lines of minimal contemporary sculpture, but on closer inspection their surfaces reveal unexpected textures and imperfections of felted wool.
The title of one series ‘Amorphozoa’, refers to animals without mouths or regular internal organs. These pieces are an attempt to distil the essence of a creature – to functionally and aesthetically simplify living organisms to mere suggestions of parts. These creatures are made to fulfill the human desire to surround oneself with nature, but on human terms: carefully ‘manufactured nature’ that is both appealing through tactility and low maintenance. Mimicking the dichotomy of the concept of nature conceived in a science laboratory, they are warm yet cool and aloof, cuddly yet strange and almost menacing.
As part of Black Sheep, The National Centre for Craft and Design commissioned Metz to create another teddy bear skull piece based on the classic teddy bear toy, Teddy Ruxpin. ‘Ursulus Teodorus Ruxpinus’ can be found in the handling area of this exhibition.
Visit Stephanie Metz‘s website.