Meet Tamryn McDermott, A Former Artist-In-Residence at Craft Alliance

By Mackenzie Taylor
In Culture

Craft Alliance Artist-in-Residence program offers artists from around the United States to work exclusively on their craft while teaching classes at Craft Alliance. Tamryn McDermott is one such artist who had the opportunity to work with CA in 2015. She is now showcasing her Fibers and Sculpture work at Craft Alliance’s “Artists-in-Residence Exhibition,” running now until July 3.

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“Brick Work STL 2015 – 2016 ” by Tamryn McDermott

How would you describe your art to someone who isn’t familiar with your work?
My work is concerned with how we experience history and how the transmission of meaning permeates our narrative relationship to objects. My goal is to redefine the importance of installation and presentation of objects.  By deconstructing and analyzing the way the historical record is fabricated, my work reveals the futile nature of preserving an accurate history.

My material choices are driven by the ideas imbedded in the work. For example, the brick fragments in this exhibition are collected from a parking lot and along the street near the Grand Center location of the Craft Alliance. By recovering and reconstructing new meaning with these objects, the work suggests a re-building and re-telling of the history of the city.

What pieces from the Artists-in-Residence Exhibition are you most excited to share with the world?
I am excited about the work in the show because it began during my residency last summer and has continued to be the main focus of my studio practice since. I am starting to develop the brick work into more complex groupings and new ideas about display are fueling the creation of more objects as well.

What is something you’ve been working on that you wouldn’t have had the opportunity without Craft Alliance’s program?
During my residency at the Craft Alliance, I took a few days per week to volunteer at the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Collinsville, IL. This opportunity to live and work in St. Louis placed me in close proximity to the site and I was able to work on the excavation team for a total of five weeks. The experience contributed ideas about using found contemporary architectural objects as material for new work. The brick fragments that I have been working with over the past year were all collected during my residency and provided me with ideas for upcoming new projects as well.

What’s a medium you’ve never worked with before that you’d be interested in trying?
I would love to work with cast concrete. I had a limited experience with the material as an undergraduate student at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. With an interest in historic architecture, especially that of the Romans, concrete is a material that I would really enjoy exploring.

How has Craft Alliance helped you grow as an artist?
The residency at the Craft Alliance provided me with the space and support I needed right after graduate school. It pushed me to launch into my own studio practice and figure out how to navigate working as an artist outside of the academic environment.

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