Artist Statement

I see my studio practice as a laboratory where I experiment with materials that have personal history and are significant to me because of their origins. The outcome is sculpture, or performance that is documented in video and photography. Inspiration for my work comes from the marvels of biological life both aesthetically and metaphorically: patterns of flowers, vines, and fungus; the magic and regeneration of underwater plants; the mesmerizing serpentine movement of snakes.

I have a natural affinity for textiles and they regularly show up in my work, particularly wool and more recently family lace. My mother was born on a Colorado sheep ranch, as was her mother. I grew up in a house full of weaving and craft projects with wool often spread throughout the house. My father managed a textile factory and was always tinkering with machines and building things in our garage. These legacies show up in my work through my explorations of the world through texture. Pinecones are another material I use – they go back to my suburban childhood when I collected them during summer vacations in the Sierra Nevada mountains. They act as symbols of the wildness and the unpredictability of the forest that I longed for. More recently, I’ve found satisfaction in foraging for materials in hardware stores, seeing the range of their potential, and subverting their intended use.

Adopting natural forms and interacting with materials that hold personal meaning are expressions of curiosity, reverence, and longing.


Education

2005  MFA, Mills College, Oakland, CA

1986  BA, Psychology, Smith College, Northampton, MA

Solo Exhibitions

2023 Into the Garden, Irvine Fine Arts Center, Irvine, CA (two-person exhibition)

2019  Be the SnakeWinslow Garage, Los Angeles, CA (solo exhibition)

Selected Group Exhibitions

2023  Forage | Gather, Fellows of Contemporary Art (FoCA), Los Angeles, CA 

2023  Malmöfornia Dreamin', Durden and Ray, Los Angeles, CA

2023  At the Bottom of a Greasy Pyramid, U+2205, Amadora-Lisbon, PT 

2023  The Fabric of Memory, Tufenkian Fine Arts, Glendale, CA

2023  Fever Dream Dream Fever, Los Angeles Mission College, Los Angeles, CA

2023  A Common Thread, Art Share L.A., Los Angeles, CA

2023  Felt: Fiber Transformed, Guilford Art Center, Guilford, CT

2023  Tieze, Durden and Ray, Los Angeles, CA 

2022  Pilosus nuces orbisQuadrant, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA

2022  Sixth Annual Anniversary Exhibition, Open Mind Art Space, Los Angeles, CA 

2021  Small Works in Flux, Flux Art Space, Long Beach CA 

2021  NOMAD, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA

2021  Fifth Anniversary Exhibition, Open Mind Art Space, Los Angeles, CA

2021  Makers Anonymous, Blowing in the Wind, Los Angeles, CA

2020  Hobson's Choice, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA (online exhibition)

2020  Changing a Point of View, All She Makes (online platform)

2020  New Work, Parlor, Los Angeles, CA (three-person exhibition)

2019  Aesthetic IntensityJosé Drudis-Biada Art Gallery, Mt. St. Mary's University, Los Angeles, CA

2019  Hard Mud, Soft Threads, The Loft, San Pedro, CA 

2018  A Piece of Me, Laband Art Gallery, Loyola Marymount University, (curated by Yarn Bombing LA), Los Angeles, CA

2009  99-Cent Show, Los Angeles World Airport, Los Angeles, CA

2009  For Intended Use Only, d.e.n. contemporary, included performance, Los Angeles, CA (three-person exhibition)

2009  Ornament is a Crime, Gallery 1927, installation & performance, Los Angeles, CA

2008  TasteRoot Division, San Francisco, CA

2007  Art Parade, organized by Deitch Projects, New York, NY

2007  Handled With Care: Contemporary Ceramic Works, London Design Festival, London, UK (Catalogue)

2007  Intersection, A Public Art Installation Project. Funded by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs & the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Studio City, CA (Catalogue) 

Curatorial Projects

2024 Alternative Monuments | Monumentos Alternativos, Durden and Ray, Los Angeles, CA & OJO Versalles, Mexico City, MX (Upcoming)

2023 Forage | Gather, Fellows of Contemporary Art (FOCA), Los Angeles, CA

2022  Pilosus nuces orbisQuadrant:New Voices, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA 

Lectures & Workshops

2022  "Textile Slam" presentation for Textile Arts LA, June 22

2022  "Curatorial Talk" for Torrance Art Museum Advocates, February 11

2018  "Pecha Kucha" presentation during Mindful Materials Summit, Textile Arts LA, Los Angeles, CA, September 15

2015  “Felting & Natural Dyeing”, Lecture and Workshop, Machine Project, Los Angeles, CA, February 8

Awards & Residencies

2023 Curator's Lab Grant, Fellows of Contemporary Art (FOCA), Los Angeles, CA

2023 Residency, Ann Weber Artist Residency, Puerto Vallarta, MX

2021  Residency, Noce Fresca, Milis, Sardina, IT

2018  Fiber Reinterpreted Award, Surface Design Journal

2008  Residency & Fellowship, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT

2004  Eklind Fellowship, Mills College, Oakland, CA

2002  Residency, Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff, Alberta, CN

Bibliography

"Meet Carolyn Mason", Bold Journeys, February 6, 2024

"Begin 2024 with Epic Art Exhibitions from 2023", Diversions LA, January 2024

"Stories & Insights with Carolyn Mason", Canvas Rebel, October 12, 2023

Exhibition Catalogue for Forage | Gather, Fellows of Contemporary Art, 2023

Exhibition Catalogue for At the Bottom of a Greasy Pyramid, U+2205, 2023

Exhibition Catalogue for The Fabric of Memory, Tufenkian Fine Arts, 2023

"Felt: Fiber Transformed", Fiber Art Now Magazine, Summer 2022. 44

Exhibition Catalogue for Quadrant: Pilosus nuces orbisTorrance Art Museum, 2022 

Second Annual Zine”, Parlor Pages, 2020. 25-26

Family Matters: Exhibition in Print”, Surface Design Journal, Winter 2018. 50-52

Splash of Colour”, Elle Decoration, UK Edition, May 2008. 144

“Handled with Care: Contemporary Ceramic Works”, Exhibition Catalogue, Designboom, Milan, Italy, 2007. 84

Exhibition Catalogue for Intersection, A Public Art Installation Project. Funded by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs & the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, 2007. 17

“Top Picks,” San Francisco Bay Guardian, 2004

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