Molly Blumberg is an artist based in Chicago, IL. She earned her MFA at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in fiber & material studies in 2020 and her BFA from the Washington University in St. Louis Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts in sculpture in 2012. Trained as a sculptor and a papermaker, her work is grounded in an extreme engagement with materiality. Through a playfully physical studio practice and a dedication to process based exploration, she explores how it feels to be a body. Pulling from art-historical depictions of the female body and employing feminist practices of fragmentation and reassembling, she focuses on the phenomenology of a fleshy body that is a site of constant state change.
My practice explores how materials embody the experiences of the human body - when they become skin and flesh, when they are in tension, heft, weight, and gravity. My working methods are grounded in materials and processes that undergo quick physical and chemical state changes. Handmade paper and plaster dry and cure in a race with time. My sculptures hold an urgency, an intensity of engagement around the moment of making. They capture movement and transformation and speak to the actions and gestures of how bodies move through the world.
My sculptures are provisional forms made from found objects and industrial materials encased in permeable membranes of handmade paper or nylon. They explore a pure physicality. The work reveals its internal functions through inversion, unfolding, and moments of transparency. The membrane pulls inward; the internal parts push out.Their sustaining functions are just barely contained. Built from found and often domestic objects, these sculptural bodies are an amalgamation of lived environments and experiences. They are often humorous, obviously awkward - oversized belly buttons, fleshy forms that taper into tiny feet, a leg that becomes an esophagus and intestines.
My work wrestles with figuration and abstraction - moments of specificity dissolve into formlessness. Their fragmentation disrupts an understanding of a “complete” body, and positions the human body as a precarious material being that is uncontrollable and unpredictable. As the elements slump, pucker, tear, invert, and bulge, they express the failures of our own bodies that are at once frightening and funny. Pulling from art- historical depictions of the female body and employing feminist practices of fragmentation and reassembly, I focus on the phenomenology of a fleshy body that is a site of constant state change. As the viewer and the sculptural body occupy a shared space, they reflect one another as uncanny, animate, and perishable beings.