Mindy Rose Schwartz: Work Reminiscent of the Domestic & Thrift Store

Posted by: Meg Duguid

You can’t talk about the work of Mindy Rose Schwartz without bringing the word craft—or more accurately, crafts—into it. Her work is created from an amalgam of processes that she has built up during a lifetime, starting as early as grade school. She uses a variety of methods that include crochet, macramé, sand art, coil pot ceramics, and papier-mâché. Her work is reminiscent of both the domestic and the thrift store. It is a familiar nod to nostalgia but without the feeling that there used to be better times. Instead, Mindy insinuates that our brains have muscle memories of experienced objects, and those memories are thoughts in passing that can be recalled but not pinpointed exactly.

Mindy is part processor and part miner of objects and collectibles. Through the years, she has created imaginary collectibles. Looking at collections people might have in their homes, such as the Precious Moments figurines, she considers the domestic. These kinds of objects stay in homes for years living on shelves. Although they are much beloved, they are rarely moved except to be cleaned; these are the sculptures that people live with every day. Mindy homes in on imagined stories of the collectible and the collector. Her work is not about craft aesthetic or about taste. It is imbued with traces of use-experience and is a window into specific class, cultural, and gender-specific moments. Over the years, Mindy has made reference to all forms of familiar objects–household furniture, key chains, tchotchkes, and fountains.

Although her work is not site-specific, it is site-responsive. Each piece is placed to make the viewer aware of the architecture in which it is set. Tight corners make work feel monumental, nooks become the fabric through which her work is interwoven, and light casts shadows through pieces, making the work itself synonymous with the room around it. Each series is a profusion of curious objects of aesthetic contemplation steeped with the emotional history of their imagined owners, creating moments of sympathetic engagement. Each piece is a fantasy grounded in the everyday, and yet each work is not so fantastical as to beyond our recognition.

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