“My grandmother taught me how to crochet when I was young and I have explored this craft throughout my life. The repetitive process of taking a single strand of yarn, looping it together with a hook, and creating a fabric is like a magic trick. It’s simple in execution and produces astounding results. My sculptures explore connotations associated with crochet. The act of making a sweater brings to mind hours of labor and concepts of comfort and warmth. The ideas associated with this type of production are juxtaposed with the absurdity of its application. I take the time to create beautiful sweaters for objects that have no practical need of warmth, but in my mind have great psychological need for comfort.
I crochet sweaters for taxidermied animal heads. Having grown up in Texas and it’s hunting culture, taxidermy naturally worked its way into my practice. These “trophy”animals are such odd objects to begin with, to comfort and conceal these forms by putting them in custom sweaters, makes them that much more peculiar. Through crocheting I am creating a second skin for the animals. The soft, touchable stripes of color accentuate contours and bring a formalist beauty to the figures, as the sweaters anthropomorphize the objects and change the way people view their existence. The materiality and familiarity of the crochet allows the viewer to be drawn in and have empathy for the trophies. This absurd domesticity resurrects these inanimate objects and brings them into a new life.
The newest work embraces oddity, often full of abnormalities and absurdities. Antlers stretch across rooms, necks extend to the floor, and heads melt together creating these freaks of nurture. It is as though Grandma was playing mad scientist, reincarnating animals into a life of bizarre coziness, nurturing them into oddity. Like a circus sideshow, my sculptures are both sad and amusing, straddling the line between stranger eality and comfortable, warm nonsense. Like a simple magic trick, this surreal illusionis all held together by a single strand of yarn.”
Elaine Bradford lives and works in Houston, TX. She holds an MFA from theCaliforniaInstitute of the Arts(2003). Her work has been exhibited in Texas atCactus Bra, SanAntonio, TX;Okay Mountain, Austin, TX;Women & Their Work, Austin, TX; Arthouse, Austin, TX; and nationally at HuntGallery, Webster University, St. Louis, MO; Cirrus Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Greenlease Gallery, Kansas City, MO; Texas FirehouseGallery, Long Island City, NY. She was awarded the Best Work of Art by the Austin Critics Table Awards in 2007.