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Isabelle Garbani


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I work in mixed media, using feminine crafts such as crochet and lace with recycled plastic shopping bags, making large-scale installations and drawing on community-engagement. Among them, “Knit for Trees” on Governors Island, Vermont, and Long Island; “Invasive Species” in Taiwan and Wisconsin; “Post War Blues” in Brooklyn (awarded a Community Arts Grant); and “Hangin' Out to Dry” which I developed during my residency at the The Pocantico Center/Rockefeller Brothers Fund in Tarrytown, NY.

I am from France, having immigrated to the US in 1984. The move, which was supposed to be temporary, has informed my adult life, and my choice of themes and materials. French culture is set in its ways: the life I live here is not impossible there, but is a little unusual. Unmarried with no children, pursuing an artistic career and willing to travel halfway around the world leaving my boyfriend behind for long stretches of time... ça ne se fait pas! (“it is not done!”).

At the same time, I am a political person, and aware that America offers great opportunities for someone like me, but can also have bad policies both domestically and abroad. The work I do always revolves around those issues. My choice of materials reflects this paradoxical view that I have of American culture. Plastic is indispensable and it is completely unnecessary; it is vital to our modern lives and it is harmful to our environment; it is a true technological achievement and a sign of our failure.