Sayer Rose Lyra | 31 Women | Whitney Modern

31 Women

Sayer Rose Lyra - 31  Women

SAWYER ROSE: Lyra

Silver solder, copper, fiberglass  
18 x 18 in

When Sawyer Rose started at Williams College, it took just six weeks for her to decide that she wanted to major in Art. She recalls, “Fortunately, the department required both Art History and studio classes, so I ended up with a well-rounded experience.” Her senior year painting professor was completely comfortable with her odd studio hours and wild experimentation on canvas. So was her photography tutor at Glasgow School of Art. She learned a lot in both of their classes, but the most valuable takeaway was that it was ok, even encouraged, to let her practice develop outside of the academic box. Rose began her practice as an oil painter, but now works mostly in metal, wood and fiber. She finds natural, earthy materials to be the easiest to wrap her mind around. “Metal is a finicky, willful material to work with, which I have learned to enjoy. Metal does as it pleases.” She likes to make work that shines a light on social and environmental topics that are important to her. Her metalworks are based on the native flora of California and ask viewers to consider what plants would look like if they could grow armor to protect themselves. Rose is attracted to art that highlights repetition and pattern while still maintaining an organic sensibility. Near-symmetry and flawed reproduction are mainstays of her own production process. She finds Lee Bontecou’s sculpture work stunning. Bontecou’s steel and canvas wall pieces are particularly inspiring for her, as Rose also works in metal. “It takes my breath away every time—her armatures are the stuff of dreams.” In another vein of her practice, Sawyer Rose’s work on The Carrying Stones Project takes a deep dive into women’s work inequity. This project looks at women’s paid and unpaid labor, as well as the wage gap, representation of women the workplace, and other ways in which people who identify as female are fighting an uphill battle at work and in their communities. In the next year Rose will be building a new group of installation sculptures for The Carrying Stones Project. She will also publish a book of all the work from the project.

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