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Simone Meltesen

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My work consists of three series of portable soft sculpture objects that I photograph in different environments. The first of these sculptures are the soft houses, which I created as a likeness of my childhood home in San Francisco. Originally a panacea for my lingering homesickness, they quickly became a stand in for myself in photographs of my travels; as well as a symbol of the domesticity and stability I yearn for but that is incongruous with my thirst for independence and adventure. The second series, of house/boats, are based on stories I have heard about boats being dragged on dry land during the Gold Rush in San Francisco and used as shops and houses. I was drawn to the contradictory nature of such a structure, and decided to create my own fantastical version of this small note in Gold Rush History. The soft girls were originally inspired by a piece by Kiki Smith, and were intended to stand in the corner of a gallery as an installation. They are a self-portrait at age eight, and I recently began photographing them outside in environments I associate with my own childhood, such as Tomales Bay, CA. My choice of materials and techniques to work with, particularly thread, cloth, and embroidery, was initially inspired by work made by women in the 1970s during the Feminist Art movement, as well as for practical reasons such as lack of studio space and availability of materials. My small, portable sculptures made of soft materials, embodying domestic themes, challenge the traditionally monolithic nature of sculpture in the western world.

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