The Center for Contemporary Arts will feature the first solo exhibition for artist Braeden Kuppin, titled Undergrowth. Gallery 4 will be transformed into a bio-diverse exploration of nature through soft sculpture as the vehicle. The exhibition will feature larger-than-life, biologically accurate soft sculpture, including functional furniture in the form of mushrooms and stumps with hand-stitched bark textures. Tactile, functional, and a little bit whimsical – the exhibition will be a larger-than-life experience for viewers to interact with art and nature.
“The [concept of this exhibit] is taking an under-respected, and in the fine arts world, underrepresented medium, and a visual theme of overlooked and misunderstood things and creatures, largely mushrooms and bugs, as a parallel,” Kuppin explained.
With the exhibition, Kuppin explores concepts about how humans interact with nature in urban environments. With the built environment replacing much of the nature that previously existed, humans no longer recognize the value and purpose of some plants and animals, including bugs. Kuppin explains that, “…people don’t recognize most common creatures around them, and certainly don’t understand the value they create. Bees have sort of been rehabilitated in the public eye with the save the bees push for example, but wasps and flies are also important pollinators, more commonly in fact than bees, and still reviled. Roaches evolved alongside humans as a cave species and largely leave environments cleaner than they entered them. They’re sort of the vultures of the insect world the same way wasps are the wolves.”
Kuppin goes on to explain, “I’ve been thinking a lot about the Spoken Word piece ‘Mercy’ by Rudy Francisco. It was a response piece to Nikki Giovanni’s ‘Allowables’ which visits themes of fear and how things have value even if they scare you and still deserve life.”
Mercy by Rudy Francisco
She asked me to kill the spider
Instead, I get the most
peaceful weapons I can find.
I take a cup and a napkin.
I catch the spider, put it outside
and allow it to walk away.
If I am ever caught in the wrong place
at the wrong time, just being alive
and not bothering anyone,
I hope I am greeted
with the same kind
Kuppin is a graduate of Hardin-Simmons University, artist-member of the Center for Contemporary Arts, and explores art-making in many media including mixed-media resin, digital drawing and illustration, and constructed sculpture. Undergrowth will be on view in Gallery 4 at the Center for Contemporary Arts from Nov. 9 through Jan. 6.
Contributed By The Center for Contemporary Arts