A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, Mallory Weston explores contrast and contradiction in material and meaning. Her work pairs black with white, gold with silver, shiny with dull, offering up dualities and polarities for examination. Through the repetition and patterning of graphic icons—peace signs, yin yangs, hearts, smiley faces, alien heads—Weston turns the Lisa Frank symbology of tween culture on its head, confronting the viewer with an almost alarming overload of visual information. Weston dissects the psychology of communication in the digital age, namely social media’s packaging of otherwise complex emotions into emoticon and emoji format for instant recognition and quick digestion.
Weston contends with her own generation’s comfort communicating in emoticon shorthand, reflecting the dissonance when true emotional experience is lost to the translation of feelings into graphics. Weston adorns the body in these same symbols, making the loss visible. The icon is paired with the raw physicality of meticulous stitching and intensive hand labor. The viewer confronts a clash of extremes—metal joined to fabric, a gold heart flayed with spikes, the simultaneous inviting and distancing that mirrors human relationship. The knife, the blade—itself severed—is rendered flaccid and decorative, a dislocation of power. The surreal scale and ironic detachment is rooted in the lineage of male pop artist such as Claes Oldenburg and Andy Warhol, but also takes a stance as an item of fashion, as much a part of couture culture as it is a comment on it.
Weston finds catharsis in the act of making, emancipating herself from the confines of binary opposites and the limits of instant message communication. Weston draws forth the full spectrum of emotionality and experience, reminding the viewer of the subtleties and complexities sacrificed for instant gratification.
Mallory Weston is an artist currently living and working in Philadelphia, PA. She recently received her MFA in Jewelry + Metalsmithing at Rhode Island School of Design, graduating in 2013. In addition to her studio practice, she is a Lecturer in the Craft + Material Studies Department at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Her work was recently featured in a solo exhibition at Sienna Patti Contemporary as part of their Lab for Emerging Artists. She also has an active exhibition schedule, participating in group exhibitions both nationally and internationally. Her work can be found in the permanent collection of the CODA Museum in the Netherlands.