Masterminds Artist of the Day, Ariel Springfield

Categories: Art, Artopia
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Who are today's most promising emerging artists? Each year, SF Weekly finds 10 of them for our Masterminds issue. You'll be able to see these artists and their work up close at Artopia on Thursday, Feb. 21, at SOMArts Cultural Center.

That night we'll also announce the three artists who will receive grants. Come out and meet them. But first, get to know their work.

See Also: All the Masterminds 2013 artists

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Ariel Springfield
Praxinoscopes 1 & 2

The Queering of Seating 

Ariel Springfield 

Earlier in their lives, the three chairs were just functional chairs -- the simple wooden kind that people would sit on to have dinner or work at a desk. Now, piano strings crisscross the front of one, while lace contours another, and fur and fake pearls coat a third. Ariel Springfield calls her chairs Three Queer Bodies, a sculptural project designed to highlight cultural norms of body image, class, and sexual identity. Art-goers are encouraged to touch Springfield's chairs, and the chair with piano strings responds even without touch: It vibrates as you walk by.

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Ariel Springfield

"The chair is a reflection of the body -- it holds bodies, and is designed to interact with our bodies -- but it also has its own body and structure, with legs and feet," says Springfield, a Berkeley resident who identifies as queer. "With each chair, I was thinking about a different aspect of the body."

The lace chair, for example, reflects internal organs, and features a pocket of simulated salmon roe and a lace extension that juts up in back. Besides the chairs, Springfield repurposes other objects, like the bicycle wheel, cookie tins, mirrors, and other objects that were used for Praxinoscopes, a series that explores ideas of home, motion, and myth.

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Ariel Springfield

Springfield, 30, has exhibited work the past two years at the National Queer Arts Festival in San Francisco. "Art," she says, "can break down barriers in very personal ways. The viewers' permission to touch and interact with my art," Springfield says, "makes them intimate objects and restructures the narrative between art and voyeur."

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