In Praise of Fragmentation Featuring Heidi Schwegler

(Art by Heidi Schwegler)

Things break.

Heidi Schwegler’s practice considers a landscape awash in fragments. Her work is an aesthetic investigation into the “culture of breakage” or “planned obsolescence” that our global economy relies upon. By recontextualizing broken things as the basis for new sculptural forms, her process blurs lines between the manufactured and crafted, the industrial and the handmade through traditional and experimental materials, found forms, and replicas re-made in glass, gold, porcelain, resin, and wood.

About Heidi Schwegler:

Heidi Schwegler explores a wide range of materials in the service of her subject matter. Drawn to the peripheral ruin, she deftly incorporates found objects with traditional craft and sculpture media. “When [an object] is no longer contextualized by function and ownership, the discarded thing’s anonymity and ambiguity render it pervious to the imagination,” she says, approaching such things as a source of investigation. “I consider its formal qualities as raw material — but a very particular raw material that is both new and an indicator of past use, past value, and past purpose.”

Schwegler’s accolades include an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Oregon Arts Commission, Hallie Ford Fellowship and two MacDowell Colony Fellowships in the Visual Arts. She was artist-in-residence at MacDowell, Pilchuck, VCCA, Yaddo, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and Bullseye Glass Company, among others. Notable exhibitions of her work include the 2018 Bellevue Art Museum Biennial, Portland2016: A Biennial of Contemporary Art, curated by Michelle Grabner and presented by Disjecta Contemporary Art Center; her ten-year retrospective, Botched Execution, at The Art Gym at Marylhurst University, Oregon and the Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln, Nebraska. Schwegler holds a BFA from the University of Kansas and MFA from the University of Oregon. She divides her time between Portland, Oregon and resides full time in Yucca Valley, California where she is the founding director of Yucca Valley Material Lab.

Her sculptural work is in the permanent collection of the Portland Art Museum currently on view in the Hoffman Galleries of the Northwest Art wing), the Crocker Museum and the Hallie Ford Museum.

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