Student Spotlight: Installation artist Sierra Meservey
Recent University of Maine at Augusta graduate and Rockland native Sierra Meservey is a weaver of ideas, of materials. It’s the process of making art that fascinates her, often leading her down a rabbit hole to an entirely different outcome.
Take for instance, her final thesis, an installation piece for her senior exhibition currently up at UMA. Made of yarn, thread and latex, it hangs like some kind of thready, strandy thick forest — almost what human tissue would look like on a nano scale.
“I’d been working on this since the beginning of the school year,” she said. “At one point, I was thinking about doing an installation of hair I had collected from numerous salons in my area. But, the hair added up slowly and my love/compulsive desire to knit came about as it always does in November. While knitting, I had thought about knitting and its significance to me and to my concept of nesting and netting. And one day — it clicked — I was able to find my nesting and netting concept in the plush contraptions I was creating.”
It took her five days to install the piece, working 10-12 hours day. “I respond strongly to installation pieces, because I feel as though installation pieces are works of art that the viewer can be a part of,” she said.
You could say her process is very bird-like in her compulsion to hoard materials before creating. A few years ago, another artwork she created got some attention. It was a newspaper dress made in a 3-D design class at the University College at Rockland, where she spent her first three years. Her instructor pushed her out of her comfort zone as an artist and encouraged her to make my pieces larger than life.
“We were only allowed to use three materials to create this project and the materials that my instructor chose for us to work with were duct tape, newspaper and cardboard,” she said. “I didn't use any cardboard in my project, even though I had spent the entire semester hoarding as much cardboard as possible from work. I used regular duct tape and newspaper to make the dress.” She said the dress took about 30 hours to construct.
Meservey plans on being an artist full time, eventually.
“Right now, I’m branching off of the installation piece at UMA and I’m thinking about other possible installations — ones involving helium,” she said. This summer, she’ll be back working at Dowling Walsh Gallery for the fourth year as well as assisting and modeling for photographer, Cig Harvey. She has lots of plans, including working with more artists and art installations, traveling and building her portfolio for graduate school. She has her sights set on New York.
And of course, weaving new ideas.
“I’m currently interested in adding encaustic and/or wax to my pieces,” she said. “I’m attracted to the visceral quality that those medias provide.”
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org