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Natalie Baxter, My Super Sweet M Sixteen, 2015, fabric and polyfill, 20 x 60 x 3.5 inches.
Natalie Baxter: OK-47
March 2 – April 23, 2016
Floods of recent media coverage have turned the public’s attention to increasingly common mass shootings and conversation to the politics of gun control. Feeling powerless to act within these cycles of destructive outbursts and stagnant Congressional proceedings, Natalie Baxter found an outlet in making her own guns.
OK-47 is a series of sewn and stuffed sculptures, many of which are modeled after actual weapons used in recent US mass shootings. With fabric from New York City’s Garment District or her roommate’s Goodwill pile, Baxter turns images of these violent weapons into soft and brightly colored caricatures. Though she now lives in Brooklyn, New York, Baxter grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, a place that introduced her both to gun culture and to sewing. One of her gun-owning acquaintances, her Appalachian grandmother, taught her to quilt when she was young.
Firearms are traditionally viewed as objects of power and masculinity, but Baxter is unsettling this image by using a historically feminine craft technique to create non-threatening, non-functioning, and (frankly) flaccid translations. Her guns are more than plush toys, since treating them as such and thrusting them into the hands of children would only serve to familiarize and endear the image of a dangerous weapon. Baxter hopes that the works will act not as a statement for or against guns, but rather as catalysts for open-ended discussions about violence, gender, and ways in which humans relate to one another.
Natalie Baxter, Wild Goose, 2015, fabric and polyfill, 19 x 66 x 4 inches.
Natalie Baxter, OK-47, 2015, fabric and polyfill, 17 x 60 x 2.5 inches.
Natalie Baxter, Tammy Gun, 2015, fabric and polyfill, 12 x 42 x 8 inches.
Natalie Baxter, Hot Shot, 2015, fabric and polyfill, 8 x 13 x 2 inches.Installation ViewInstallation ViewInstallation ViewInstallation ViewInstallation View
About the Artist:
Natalie Baxter (b. 1985, Kentucky) received her MFA from the University of Kentucky in 2012 and her BA in Fine Art from the University of the South in Sewanee, TN in 2007. Her work has been exhibited recently at Mulherin (New York), Spring/Break Art Fair (New York), Alison Milne Gallery (Toronto, ON), Institute 193 (Lexington, KY), In Ersten (Vienna, Austria), and The Cornell Art Museum (DelRay Beach, FL). Baxter’s work has been featured in Vice’s The Creator’s Project, Hyperallergic, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, W Magazine and the London Observer. Baxter has been an artist in residence at The Wassaic Project and a fellowship recipient at the Vermont Studio Center. She currently works in Brooklyn, NY.