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Margie Kuhn


Contemporary Artifacts

For the past twelve years I have been looking at material culture: what it says about us as individuals and as a society.  What we collect and how we display these objects signifies their importance or value in contemporary culture.  The mundane artifacts of everyday life have a significance that is often ignored, and it is these objects that I look to in order to understand today’s culture. 

I use the juxtaposition of found objects with elements from art history, photos, and other artifacts to suggest a different relationship or idea for familiar items, placing their meaning in a common history.  I am often puzzled by combinations of words and their readily understandable meaning.  In the mixture of diverse objects I look at ideas, terms, phrases that are frequently used but loosely defined, hoping to make sense of idiomatic expressions or social values. 

When I found a bristle curler reminiscent of growing up in the 60s and 70s, it forced me to consider ideas about gender and what it means to be male or female.  In looking at pairings of images and gender-related objects, I hope to understand what are some of the common issues and misconceptions of identity and how those evolve over time.  In all of my work, there is an attempt comprehend the changing standards and concepts in today’s world and find some continuity between generations.  

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