Erin Stellmon is originally from Portland, OR and currently lives in Baltimore, MD via New York, NY and Las Vegas, NV. Her mixed media collages, installations and paintings explore the contemporary landscape through barriers, walls and temporary fences intended to “preserve and protect” traditional notions of home.
Aside from her studio work, Stellmon works collaboratively to create live art events in Joshua Tree, CA, and Baltimore, MD. She helped open The Neon Museum in Las Vegas and is currently working with The Baltimore Streetcar Museum to expand their outreach. She has exhibited throughout the US and has had her work featured in numerous publications including the Wall St. Journal and Art in America.
These mixed media pieces from her Gnasher Series were featured in her recent solo show For Your Safety, 2018-19
The “Gnasher” series is a contemporary investigation of Stellmon’s ancestors’ experience on the Oregon Trail. Through collaged imagery of stone, brick and siding that has been photographed and assembled on quilted fabric, she examines what it means to break down and conceptually “ingest” structures of barriers in the context of this historical landgrab and her own challenges as an artist navigating the future.
Her ancestors, more specifically the King family women, made a quilt on their journey that currently resides in the archives of the Oregon Historical Society. It was sewn in 10 x 10” squares on the laps of the women in the wagons and later assembled after reaching their eventual homestead in what they claimed as (and is still named) King’s Valley, OR. Along with detailed diaries, this quilt tells the story of their journey stitch by stitch, an effort to create normalcy in an unpredictable and dangerous time.
The dimensions and use of vintage quilt squares in Stellmon’s “Gnasher” series directly refer to the living archive made in those covered wagons, while the clay teeth and collaged barriers depict the artist’s need to “digest” her pioneer ancestry, her journey as a female artist, and what it means to document history in our current political climate.
For additional writing:
Read Danielle Kelly's essay excerpt from the recent Barrick Museum show catalog for "Tear Down and Break Ups" HERE