Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Artist Snapshot: Maggie Haas (Part 1 of 2)

Based in San Francisco, artist Maggie Haas is looking forward to a weekend in Chicago for Auntie Em's Mobile Home, an exhibition showcasing her new works that capture the "uneasiness and fragility of built environments and domestic space." 

Teaming up with photographer TJ Proechel and curator Paul Hopkins, the exhibition will take place on Saturday, February 25th at SLOW, 2153 W 21st Street, Chicago 60608. 

Artist Maggie Haas

The Pilsen Project caught up with Haas to discuss her art and the upcoming exhibition. 

When did you first get involved with the art world? 

I was very lucky to have enjoyed painting as a kid and to never have been discouraged.  I grew up in a community where a lot of my friends' parents were craftspeople. In that way, it's like it's something I just fell into.  But I studied at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and that experience was what put me on the path I'm on.  I loved having peers who were experimenting with things they felt deeply about, succeeding and failing and trying again, and I loved the honesty of critique.  But most of all I like making things with my hands.  None of that has changed, even as I grow older and my interests evolve.  

What is your preferred medium? 

Nothing beats the directness of putting a brush to paper, but I use a lot of different materials.  What they have in common is that for the most part they're materials most of us have some direct, tactile experience of using.  Wood, pins, pencil, drywall and paint are all built, quite literally, into our daily lives.  I'm interested in objects and materials that can draw on that physical familiarly, even if they echo it in strange ways.
Young Ones - Haas, 2009
How would you describe your work? 

I hope it feels familiar.  A lot of the forms I draw and sculpt are rooted in common building and craft materials and techniques, from things that feel super-handmade, like quilts, to industrial things like wood pallets.  Either way, I'm most interested in how they become something more what they are intended to be: the formalities of lumber sizes, the way a textile pattern, seen in the right way, looks like an Agnes Martin painting or a blueprint or both.

Installation View - Haas, 2010

Amanda B.

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