Curator Dasha Matsuura of Spoke Art Gallery and Oakland Art Murmur presents the multi-media exhibition “Force of Nature” by San Francisco Bay Area artist Sawyer Rose. Part of Sawyer’s ongoing series “The Carrying Stones Project,” which explores gendered work inequality in its many forms, “Force of Nature” debuts a new series of sculptures and photographic portraits that reveals the invisible force that fuels working women. The underlying concept of “The Carrying Stones Project” plays upon the idea of the oldest tool of mankind― the stone― in a project whose process is deeply embedded in today’s digital technology. The collection of real-life data was possible through a custom-built app that enabled participants to record their unpaid and paid labor, hour by hour. “Force of Nature” uniquely unfolds the data in a quantitative manner through material and documented performance. On September 1st, this app will be featured in a public participatory event at which visitors to the exhibition will get to enter their work-time data and have their portrait taken trying on a “Force of Nature” sculpture in the same way as the women whose histories are told through the project.
“Force of Nature” follows Sawyer’s 2016 interactive and sculptural project “Ties That Bind” featured at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture. Building upon that projects’ theme of women working to break the glass ceiling while scrubbing the glass floor, “Force of Nature” takes a more individualized and physical approach, transforming collected data of hourly activities from over 40 women of various ages, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds into weight bearing sculptures, performance work and written and photographic documentation. Initiated during Sawyer’s 2017 residency at MASS MoCA, these sculptures are abstract representations of each project participant’s working experience. They are also the basis of a series of deeply personal portraits which show these women lifting and carrying the sculptures that record their labors. “I want to show them literally shouldering their workloads,” Sawyer says.