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Tension of Connection

Updated: Apr 3, 2023

Works by Sarita Westrup

On view March 3 - April 1, 2023

Dale Brock & Visiting Angels Gallery

This exhibition was the culmination of the inaugural Emerging Artist Residency.

North Texas-based artist Sarita Westrup (Rio Grande South Texas, born 1989) is known for her graphic handwoven wall sculptures that suggest tunnel-like forms of movement with moments of concealment. A self proclaimed craft based artist, Sarita weaves her sculptures by hand, taking singular strands of reed and twining them together. She first methodically maps out the form and integrates woven wedges to create three dimensional undulating contours. Sometimes she forces straight woven tubes into curved shapes creating waves in the work caused by tension within the woven structure. She then rubs the sculptures with mortar to harden the forms and create textures similar to cement. Finally the sculptures are spray painted and dusted with layers of graphite to achieve a slight metallic quality. Materials such as wire and ixtle are occasionally combined adding energetic marks and textures within these looping icons referencing movement, migration, borders, and the non-linear route life often takes. Sarita’s process often begins with drawing her ideas for sculptures in her sketchbook and on butcher paper using black and white acrylic paints. She then uses the drawings as a reference while weaving.

In the installation of the works, one encounters intimate fences made from cement covered nets, shadowy loops, fuschia inks, wire wrapped plant fiber, painted creature-like rocks connected by curves, twisted infinity forms, and knotted construction twine. All these works are connected by the artist’s curiosity in contact and boundaries. The overall monochromatic color palette of The Tension of Connection, with flat cement greys, matte blacks, and dried wheat colored ixile is a translated memory of international Texas-Mexico border checkpoints that the artist walked by foot and by car while growing up. The palette momentarily is disrupted by the flash of bodily cochineal pink watercolor paintings and hot pink twine suggesting a sense of alertness. The colors and textures recall the anxiety and excitement of transitioning from one country to the other. This exhibition is a glimpse inside the artist’s work and process during her past year as Emerging Artist in Residence of Arts Fort Worth for 2022.

Sarita is a craft based artist and art educator of mixed Mexican descent living in Dallas, TX. Rooted in weaving techniques and bricolage, her sculptural basketry works are inspired by where she was born and raised, the Rio Grande Valley on the Texas - Mexico border. She received her MFA in Fiber arts from the University of North Texas in 2012. Most recently her work has been shown in "Materials Hards and Soft" at Greater Denton Arts Council in Denton, TX and in "Staked Out" at Blue Spiral 1 Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina. This past summer she was accepted into the 2022 American Craft Council Emerging Artists Cohort receiving a $10,000 accelerator grant. This summer of 2023 she will be teaching sculptural basket techniques at Penland School of Craft in North Carolina and the National Basketry Organization Conference in Tacoma, Washington. Visit .


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