kurttreeby.com

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Every city includes a variety of structures including historical landmarks, industrial factories, and utilitarian homes. My work examines the architectural ecosystem of production, consumption, and destruction embedded into the social, economic, and physical landscape of cities, reimagining a future apart from their industrial or commercial past.

Focusing on iconic structures, I faithfully replicate architectural and structural details from an alchemy of historical records and collective memory. I recreate these buildings in plastic canvas and craft-store yarn, amplifying the tension between fine art and craft. The final sculptures function as the visual embodiment of the restoration process, as historical records, and as personal memories; all imperfect and incomplete.

I use the medium of plastic canvas because it is rooted in domestic crafts. Traditionally, the medium is used to construct decorative covers resembling quaint cottages or holiday-themed houses for disposable items like tissues and paper napkins. Unlike the fantastical commercial patterns, my sculptures are often larger, replicating complex buildings that have been demolished or significantly altered over time. Because I cannot always experience the original structures, I combine archival records and satellite imagery to help me understand the building’s original site. Although I research each building exhaustively, I must also rely on my own memories as well as historical narratives to inform my process. By viewing historical records, observing preserved details, and imagining what can no longer be seen, I forge a personal connection to forms long gone.  

I use precise construction methods and preserve the shape and scale of the structure, yet I’m constrained by the limitations of commercial supplies. Details are inherently restricted by the materials; however, the buildings are recognizable even as they are pixelated and simplified. Each sculpture contains thousands of precise stitches, all sewn by hand; a painstaking process that takes months to complete. The hours spent on each piece are a meditation and a reflection on loss. Engaging in this meticulous process is my way of paying tribute to the original architects. My imperfect buildings act a stand in for the original, and as monuments to memory itself.

Artistic Statement

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Contact Info

kurttreeby@gmail.com

Selected Works

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