Water Table Quilt, 2015


My work is about reckoning with conflicting concepts and ultimately recognizing that binaries, however useful, are false. There is room here for more than one set of ideas. Contrasting human time with geological time (deep time) is one of the themes I work with, because neither is an absolute truth. My concept of time as a human, is deeply experiential and finite. I imagine mountains on earth watching stars be born and can see that their concept of time may be more flexible and expansive than I can comprehend.  We are all shifting, no matter how glacially, from imperfect formations to dust. We all have the capacity to be sharp, and we all have the ability to be porous and soft. As much as I am concerned with the geological forms of our earth, I also care deeply about what happens here between humans. My incapacity to fully grapple with concepts does not usher in nihilism, in fact the opposite is true. I care more about an earth, an idea, a community that I cannot completely figure out. I find great comfort in the fact that not all the universe’s secrets are mine to know. It matters to me that we all find ways to be kinder and gentler with one another, that we all find belonging and peace within ourselves. Through fabric, ceramics, and words I explore how to fill my small humble place in this universe, and how to do work that can honor all life as precious, all truths as equal, even if the truths are not the same.

Alex Barnawell white non binary transgender artist and author based in Chicago. They graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in 2015. Their art is interdisciplinary, spanning across book making, fibers, ceramics, found object and collage.

To contact them, please email Abbarnawell@gmail.com