Art Thoughts

Origin Story: Shannon Molter at the Tenth Street Gallery

The legacy of what we leave behind; the art and objects, books and images, the textiles and vocal tales we share all tell the story of who we are as individuals and as a culture.  These elements shine a light on where we have been, highlighting what we have seen and experienced firsthand, and illuminating who we are and the time in which we existed. These stories as artist Shannon Molter illustrates in her exhibition Origin Story at the Tenth Street Gallery are only a small part of a larger more elaborate narrative where Mother Nature takes on a defining role.

Balancing a mixture of two and three dimensional artworks, Molter asks the viewer to call into question the relationship we have with the Earth. As settlers and explorers we are constantly redefining our part as we converge and expand upon the land, building miles of roads and cities which encroach upon the natural environment.


Molter addresses these concerns in the embodiment of what she calls The Black Mare; an antagonist that blinds us with power and disconnects us from the larger story of our surroundings.  A wearable sculpture comprised of sharp teeth that bind and grind shut, this powerful figure when performed speaks volumes to the “social and spiritual trauma” that Molter feels continues to invade the minds of the masses.

In combination with The Black Mare are artworks deemed Landscapes, whose purpose is to remind the viewer of an earlier more organic time when the land was once unseen and unconquered.  In their simple and elegant fashion Molter has crafted a beautiful duality in Colonization II between human fabric in the form of hair sewn into the shape of North America which evokes texture and movement, and the naturally dyed fabrics of cloth in Colonization IV which build and morph, creating ripples like mountain ridges as forms of waves from a sea crash upon its shores.

A smart and stimulating collection of artwork that must be seen in person to be fully appreciated, Shannon Molter takes on the challenge of presenting the deeper connection we all have with our environment and eloquently succeeds in illustrating a larger collective narrative, a confident and timeless story, a reminder of our cultural place in history.

Shannon Molter: Origin Story is on display currently at the Tenth Street Gallery through May 27th.