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Q&A with MFA weaving artist

As part of the "Your Turn to Burn" series hosted by the art department, Lauren Salazar's weaving and textile work is featured in the John & June Alcott Gallery in Hanes Art Center.
As part of the "Your Turn to Burn" series hosted by the art department, Lauren Salazar's weaving and textile work is featured in the John & June Alcott Gallery in Hanes Art Center.

Lauren Salazar, a Master of Fine Arts student, will be displaying her work as part of the MFA series “Your Turn to Burn.” Her exhibit, “Intertwined,” is composed of weaved twine and string to look abstract and geometric.

Staff writer Elizabeth Tew spoke with Salazar about her inspiration for the exhibit, her process and the show’s themes.

Daily Tar Heel: How would you describe your art for this exhibit?

Lauren Salazar: I think that it is pretty formally abstract, but behind that formalism is this concept of presenting dualities that I think often don’t coexist — like craft and fine art, weaving and sculpture, or feminine and masculine.

These are often considered dualities, and I’m presenting them as coexisting equally in my work. Like the notion that people that often weave as an everyday craft, I’m presenting it in a heroic, contemporary setting.

DTH: What inspired your love for weaving and this exhibit?

LS: My great-grandmother loved to weave. I have one of her pieces in my kitchen as artwork. I love that I get to stay connected to the cultural connections I have with my family through weaving.

I get to construct weaving in this high-art way … I am challenging the notion that weaving is just a craft or just something your grandmother does. It can also be beautiful and powerful.

DTH: What is the message of your work?

LS: I think that weaving is culturally understood to be women’s work. What people often make with weaving are tablecloths, blankets, clothing and they are all domestic things. I think in my work I am embracing that, and I think that that is OK. That is beautiful.

DTH: How did you construct the artwork in your exhibit?

LS: I’m using butcher’s twine, and it is a really low-kind of masculine material. Normally, people weave with much nicer materials, like yarn and wool.

Conceptually, I really liked the fact that it is taking down the material to its rawest form, and I think it makes it about the process of weaving more than making it a beautifully crafted weaving.

It also talks about this gender language that I’m playing with — weaving as a female language. These materials coming from hardware stores are more aggressive and raw.

DTH: Did you create a piece that will be unexpected?

LS: There’s silicon padding in between the glass panels, and I have taken a needle and threaded individual strands through the glass so it creates a really taut installation inside the gallery, and the connecting strings fall outside.

For the most part, it’s a lot of raw white twine and string with little pops of dyed color.

Contact the desk editor at arts@dailytarheel.com.

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