Molly Blumberg is an artist based in Chicago, IL where she is pursuing her MFA in Fiber & Material Studies at SAIC. She received her BFA in sculpture from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis in the spring of 2012. During her studies, she spent a semester in Florence, Italy, where she discovered a love for long meandering walks and the nuances of hand gestures.
Molly has been creating art since she was a toddler, when she mastered the skills of two handed painting and making a mess. While her techniques have progressed, she remains true to the idea of process based exploration and creation. She is interested in exploring the ways in which matter continuously changes and solidifies over time. Her work explores the relationships between chaos and containment, growth and decay, expansion and contraction, and other dichotomies which express our ever-changing personal experiences with time, memory, and matter. She works with the ideas of effort and sacrifice in hope of regeneration and growth.
She finds inspiration in a wide variety of places including the writing of Virginia Woolf, hanging bulbs of garlic, and her long, red, curly hair. And she still enjoys making a mess.
Talking About Art, 2012
I have often found it hard to talk about art. Both a means for me of understanding and communication, art has evaded my sense of verbal language. In itself it is an alphabet in the broadest sense – a way of piecing together thoughts, words, phrases, emotions into eloquent and elegant forms of expression. What sometimes is missing in our constructed sense of words can be rediscovered and reinterpreted through the arts. There is a universality not reliant upon the structures and implications built into specific languages. And perhaps this is why I have avoided talking about art. Because what I can’t say in words, I can say in art. What I can’t understand through language, I can understand through my hands and my body and the process of creation.
But sometimes I believe that I don’t talk about art because I am afraid that my words will fall short – that there is no way that I could possibly explain the remarkable power of art through words and sentences and phrases. What I have always believed on intuition I have been afraid to explore intellectually because I am afraid of the disconnects between my gut and my brain and my tongue. And perhaps this is where I have let myself down. I have not talked about art because I am afraid to place my intuitions and beliefs against the tests of language and critique in communication.
Perhaps the most profound definition of art that I have encountered is “a history that flows through all of us and must come out.” Art is a proclamation of time and history – the accumulation of personal, national, cultural, and worldly histories which subtly collide into a particular moment. When I create art it is with a sense of constant flowing, that existence is in constant flux and we are exactly where we are because every moment in history has led us to this place. And that the energy and weight of these compiling and changing moments can flow through my body and through my hands and create a proclamation of existence – of proof and explanation for that one fleeting moment that will pass, yet remain, because it will change every moment ahead of it. And what I can create is concrete and lasting – it will endure beyond the moment, beyond the constraints of the written word and perception of time because it is the embodiment of histories. Art is both strongly tied to, and impervious to time. Because history is constantly flowing, what is created can only be created at one particular moment. Yet what is created through time often speaks to a profound universality. History flows and repeats, and the truths and essence of a time become inescapably entwined with those of the passing of all times. And what art strives to do is to understand – to explore and engage these moments and flows, both small and large, fleeting and permanent.
And art is never created in a vacuum and is never defined in just one form. Where our understanding of art today has faltered is in our desire to categorize. Art is not a sculpture, painting, song, or book. It is the compilation of creative thought and questioning, innovative problem solving, and a genuine attempt to understand and capture a moment in flux. Art is based in personal realities and cultural histories which can never be defined as one specific thing. Art can only be understood in a holistic context, acknowledging every aspect of a time. Because personal, cultural, and political happenings never change independently from one another, and thus the music and literature and paintings and sculptures of a moment are never created without the affects of all and every aspect of a context. So to understand art is not to decode one specific piece, but to understand the relationships of genuine inquiries and innovative perspectives within the context of history and time.
And so trying to explain art, and trying to explain my art, is daunting because to truly explain the meaning of art is to attempt to decode an entire flow of history. So instead of breaking it down, instead of focusing on specifics, I would honestly like to say that this is my art that I made through my own body and my own hands at this one moment because of every moment before it and everything around it. And when I make art, I am not just making something beautiful and indulgent. I am proclaiming this moment and exploring context and understanding that for every thing new that flows forward, something must pass. To create is to proclaim existence. And to create is to question one moment in the flow of history. And to create is to offer perspective. And to create is to unite innovative thought and a passing context.