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The Journal Gazette

  • Courtesy "Burger Babe" by Danielle Graves is among pieces in her new Artlink Contemporary Gallery show, "In the Kitchen," which opens Friday.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 9:45 am

Spotlight: Artist Danielle Graves, 'In the Kitchen'

COREY MCMAKEN | The Journal Gazette

If you go

What: Opening reception

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Where: Artlink Contemporary Gallery, 300 E. Main St.

Admission: Free, donations are welcome; regular gallery hours are noon to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays

Plush paintings and soft sculpture are among the mediums Danielle Graves uses to explore femininity in her new Artlink show, "In the Kitchen."

"Not only is it about confronting the objectification of women but also about embracing womanhood and the pressures that come along with it," Graves says in an email to The Journal Gazette. She uses mostly recycled materials to create pieces such as plush kitchen knives and a hamburger with a model's legs and breasts titled "Burger Babe."

The Indianapolis-based artist's exhibit is among three opening Friday. The shows run through June 23. 

Graves answered some questions via email. Responses have been edited.

Q. "In the Kitchen" seems to be about confronting the objectification of women. What about your art do you hope viewers react to or connect with? What is it you want people to walk away thinking about?

A. Not only is it about confronting the objectification of women but also about embracing womanhood and the pressures that come along with it. I hope viewers, women viewers in particular, connect with the characters I have created and walk away empowered and feeling radiant.

Q. What are the challenges of creating work in the medium of soft sculpture?

A. With any form of sculpture, it is always the transition from 2D to 3D that is the most challenging for me. Everything I make in soft sculpture always starts as a drawing and it isn't always easy figuring out what shapes of fabric I have to sew together to make that sketch possible in the sculptural world.

Q. What are the challenges of displaying work in the medium of soft sculpture? I imagine some people take a first glance and think "oh, those are just plush toys" until they look closer.

A. My biggest challenge is stopping and letting the install of a show come to an end. In the past couple years, I have grown a love of theater and now every show I have, I want it to be more a theatrical experience rather than some plush toys on pedestals.

Q. What would you put in a time capsule to be opened in 50 years?

A. Honestly, I would put my “Burger Babe” soft sculpture in — she is my pride and joy and I can't imagine a world without her.

Q. If you had a car with a bumper sticker that said "Honk if you love (blank)," what is in the blank that might surprise people?

A. This wouldn't be surprising for friends or family, but I would fill the blank in with “reducing, reusing and recycling.” I love recycling and I always try my best to find secondhand fabrics and secondhand materials for stuffing when creating my pieces.

For more on the new Artlink shows, including photos and video, check out coverage Friday online and in Weekender.