The Fabric Workshop and Museum Presents “Samara Golden: Upstairs at Steve’s”

Visual Arts

Samara Golden: Upstairs at Steve’s
The Fabric Workshop and Museum
April 3 – September 27, 2020

Renowned Los Angeles-based artist-in-residence transforms FWM’s eighth floor into an  immersive installation

The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) is pleased to present Samara Golden: Upstairs at Steve’s, on view from April 3 through September 27, 2020. The exhibition will premiere a new installation by contemporary artist Samara Golden created during her 2019-2020 residency at FWM. Inspired by research conducted at historic textile collections, Golden has constructed an environment exploring the contemporary impulse and rush for retreat.

At once infinite and ephemeral, Golden’s immersive structures have been described as psychological architecture, for the way they thoughtfully embed layers of consciousness within socio-economic stratification. Central to Golden’s work is the presence of contradiction, tension, or uncertainty, whether personal, metaphysical, or political. She reinforces this tension with a sensitive use of mirroring and perspective, rendering familiar surroundings into multilayered illusions.

Upstairs at Steve’s is a room-sized installation depicting a complete upending of an outdoor tableau. Set in a seaside dune-like landscape, the installation provokes an immediate and overpowering reaction in the viewer that “something happened here.” Upstairs at Steve’s contains a mysterious confluence of converging narratives involving biography, history, psychology, and nature. To achieve this ominous sensation, Golden distorts perspective with strategically placed mirrors, prompting viewers to question what is real and what is illusion. “Samara Golden masterfully toys with reality through her experimentation with optical techniques and materials,” notes FWM Executive Director Christina Vassallo.

Golden has introduced a new dimension to her signature practice of warping space—notably employed in her installation, The Meat Grinder’s Iron Clothes, at the 2017 Whitney Biennial—with the introduction of fabric. Golden was inspired by patterns found while researching historical swatch books in noted textile collections, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. These include 1836-1926 printed cottons and silks from William Simpson’s Washington Print Works and its successor Joseph Bancroft and Sons. Juxtaposing these with the more recognizable designs remembered from her childhood home, Golden creates a physical manifestation of energy and electricity.

FWM’s Artist-in-Residence program is renowned for pushing artists to experiment with new media and processes, take risks, and ultimately expand their practices as they create new works of art. Working collaboratively with FWM’s staff of printers and technicians, each Artist-in-Residence is introduced to new techniques and materials and provided with resources to realize projects that would not otherwise be possible. For Golden, the residency and culminating exhibition provide the opportunity for her to focus attention on textiles for the first time, marking an important shift in her artistic direction both in her research of historic textiles and in their pervasive use throughout her installations.

For the first time in recent history FWM invites the public to meet the artist and observe the artistic process as it unfolds with two open events prior to the exhibition opening.  During First Friday at FWM (March 6, 6-8 pm), Samara Golden and Project Coordinator Abby Lutz will demonstrate and discuss the collaborative work they are undertaking as part of the creation of Upstairs at Steve’s; and a Meet the Artist event (March 31, 6-8 pm) at Love City Brewing, 1023 Hamilton Street, will give attendees the chance to chat with Golden in a casual setting.

Support for Samara Golden: Upstairs at Steve’s is provided by The Coby Foundation, Ltd., The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, Maja Paumgarten and John Parker, Canada, and Budmen Industries.

About Samara Golden
Samara Golden (1973 b. Michigan) graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1995 and received her MFA from Columbia University in 2009. Golden has had solo exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York; YBCA, San Francisco; Night Gallery, Los Angeles; and CANADA, New York. Her work was included in the 2014 Hammer Biennial, and Room to Live at MOCA Los Angeles. Her most recent project, The Meat Grinder’s Iron Clothes, was featured in the 2017 Whitney Biennial. A monograph was published in conjunction with her exhibition at MoMA PS1, and her work has been included in ArtForum, Art in America, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Mousse, among other publications. Golden’s work is in the permanent collection of The Whitney Museum, New York; LACMA, and MOCA Los Angeles; The Zabludowicz Collection, London; and Yuz Museum, Shanghai. She lives in Los Angeles.

About the Fabric Workshop and Museum
Founded in 1977, FWM both makes and presents, encouraging artists to experiment with new materials and new media in a veritable living laboratory. Through its renowned Artist-in-Residence (AIR) Program, FWM collaborates with artists to expand their practices, while documenting the course of artistic production from inspiration to realization. FWM presents large scale exhibitions, installations, and performative work, utilizing innovative fiber and other media. Today, FWM is the only US institution devoted to creating work in textile and new media in collaboration with some of the most significant artists of our time.

Major support of FWM is provided by the Marion Boulton “Kippy” Stroud Foundation. FWM receives state art funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Additional support is provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund, Agnes Gund, and the Board of Directors and Members of The Fabric Workshop and Museum.

Contact: David Simantov