Focusing On What The Work Says, Not The Material

Erica Green Would Love To Sit and Dream Up Places Where Her Art Could Live; for Now, It’s at BMoCA

Focusing on the “seemingly unending process of repairing and rebuilding one’s self,” Boulder local artist Erica Green works using a range of materials that speak to the themes of mending and repair.  

After receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree and moving to Boulder from the Midwest, Erica taught high school art for 10 years while simultaneously completing a two-year post baccalaureate program in ceramics at CU Boulder. 

Erica and her husband have lived in Boulder for nearly 20 years because of its unique community and close proximity to running trails.

“When I need to think about the work I’m making in my studio, or just step away to not think about it, going on a trail run or hike is crucial to my process. It usually puts things into perspective.”

Although her academic background is in ceramics and ceramic sculpture, she eventually began to integrate fibers into her ceramic work while studying at CU Boulder. She explains how she eventually dropped clay entirely to focus on textiles, with a push coming from one of her professors.

“The professor asked me, ‘Why are you focusing on ceramics when you clearly are drawn more to textiles?’ That was when I began to focus more on what the work is saying, not the material. Sewing techniques and materials are a natural fit. My work now uses a range of materials that speak to themes of mending and repair, such as fibers, sewing pins, clay, staples, tape and nails.”

While building a custom piece for a Denver musician’s ceiling in his home audio studio, Erica found her current favorite piece to work with. The thick industrial wool felt she used had both fascinating sound-damping qualities as well as a manageable feel.

“It is really lovely to work with because it is soft and pliable, but also strong enough to show the delicate nature of my work. I enjoy how my work dampens the sound and calms whatever space it is in—I believe this adds to the simplicity and meditative qualities of it.”

As a self-described “site-specific artist,” Erica enters each art site with the mission of finding the most unique part of the space and honing in on that. 

“I love to create intimate areas where people can experience their surroundings in a new or different way. While some artists might find certain gallery spaces too quirky, my work seems to shine in those environments.”

The sites her art will live in are her biggest source of inspiration for the pieces. She conducts several site visits, takes videos and notes and draws out plans in her sketchbook.

“To me, it’s magic when my work and the architecture go hand in hand.”

Erica’s art reflects how mending, repairing and rebuilding oneself is a continuous process that can take on different meanings throughout life. As a former soccer player, her art has been a metaphor for physical healings from surgeries, or as a mother, recovering from childbirth. During other times, it takes a more meditative approach—keeping hands busy knotting fibers while time passes, as it does for us all.

“Making art is deeply embedded in me. I couldn’t stop if I wanted to.”

Erica’s solo show on display at Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, ‘Once They Were Red,’ explores the ideas of mending and repair using fibers, as well as the idea of time by using gradient as a metaphor.

Her art strives to find the balance of undertakings in humanity—strong and fragile, messy and disciplined, heavy and light. Erica aims to bring comfort through her art in these moments.

“My work is a visual reminder that all of life’s moments come and go. The comfort comes from recognizing, accepting and eventually celebrating this fact.”

‘Once They Were Red’ is up at BMoCA currently, and running until June 12.

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