Frail Deeds

Corridor Series
June 7 – September 16, 2019
Works by Mandy Cano Villalobos
2019 Artist in Residence

Frail Deeds: works by Mandy Cano Villalobos, 2019 Artist in Residence

Debuting June 7, during our Jump Into Summer kickoff event
5:00PM – 9:00PM| FREE ADMISSION
Featuring an outdoor concert with The Accidentals, food trucks, hands-on activities, craft drinks and more!

Frail Deeds presents two and three dimensional works that offer an alternative understanding of the artistic process. Rather than products or images, Cano Villalobos sees each piece as a embodiment of ritualistic mark making. Drawings become vestiges of repetitive action during which the artist opens herself to the passing seconds, minutes and hours. Textile sculptures become relics of meditative stitching. Amidst the dehumanization of a high tech world, Cano Villalobos imbues her work with time, touch and bodily presence. Each dot, burn and suture poses a quiet resistance to our hurried lives, and questions the reason and value of that hurry. 

The title of this exhibition is taken from Dylan Thomas’ poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”, in which the poet struggles against the oncoming death of his father. Likewise, Cano Villalobos’ small, frail deeds grapple with a constant awareness of mortality. In literally marking each passing moment, the artist transforms her labor into a ritualistic experience of the Present that exceeds our understanding of chronological time.

“Life’s busyness rarely affords us the occasion to process our shifting traditions and fluctuating identities. Through rituals and storytelling, my work creates a space to contemplate these ambiguities.”

 For Mandy Cano Villalobos, materials are just as important as the art itself. Tea bags, hair, fabric, and ashes are just some of the unconventional means by which she executes her work.

Much of Cano Villalobos’ work focuses on history, the passage of time, and the nature of memories. Attracted to both their ordinary and fragile qualities, the symbolic nature of her chosen materials allows her to weave forgotten narratives into the patterns she creates. While she begins with a concept, as her work progresses, her discoveries inform her decisions and help hone her foundational ideas. Employing repetitious processes, she experiments with concepts such as ritual and cultural history, and the almost meditative process of physical labor. In her tea bag quilts, which involve sewing together used tea bags in a grid pattern, she marks the passage of time as if the memories formed over many cups of tea are embedded in the work itself.

Mandy Cano Villalobos is our 2019 Artist in Residence and is working with hundreds of students in our Growing Young Artist Program. Cano Villalobos earned her BA from Asbury University in Wilmore, KY and her MFA from The George Washington University in Washington, DC. She currently resides in Grand Rapids, MI, where she is an Adjunct Professor of Art at Grand Valley State University. Her work has been exhibited both in the United States and abroad.

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