Galleri Urbane is pleased to host the gallery’s second solo presentation by gallery artist Abby Sherrill. The recent body of work has been developed as a result of Sherrill’s daily maintenance of a digital textile printer. In the repetitive task, the artist uncovers a duality of technology’s potential, both as a task-oriented machine and subjective, process-based experience. Moody Swatch presents numerous artistic exercises by Sherrill that invite viewers to meditate on the mundanity of daily routines and work.
As a technician for the Fibers program at the University of North Texas, Sherrill is tasked with the upkeep of the facility’s digital textile printer. This includes the daily cleaning routine in which a small segment of microfiber cloth is placed in the machine for the printer head to set on and clear the nozzles of excess dye. Through the process, each cleaning swatch becomes flooded with a lush spectrum of colors. As the process repeated, “the swatch began to feel like an artifact, diagnosis, or mood ring, providing a portal into the deep workings of the machine,” writes the artist. Ruminating on this metaphor, Sherrill’s newest series depicts the swatch in a number of artistic variations, each highlighting the swatches’ alluring formal qualities and reconsidering the relationship between human, machine, and tool.
A wall-based installation of multiple objects serves as an anchor for the exhibition and provides direct insight into the playful, experimental nature of Sherrill’s approach. Utilizing multiple mediums, from works on paper to draping printed fabrics, the installation presents the cleaning swatch in various configurations. Altered in scale and form, the swatch is used to construct a wide-ranging visual vocabulary and each iteration imbues the swatch with its own personality and history. Additionally, a series of stretched, printed fabric pieces depict images of the swatch that have been printed by the printer that it once cleaned. Originally around one square inch in size, the swatches are printed as large-scale images, adding complexity to one’s reading and understanding of this tool. Collaged elements on these works further complicate one’s comprehension, as multiple dimensions seemingly collide onto one flat surface.
Through these varied approaches, Sherrill is able to restructure the allegorical tiers of power within the technological system that she created. While the intended function of the printer and swatch is geared towards mechanical tasks, Sherrill upends these expectations and imbues them with a poetic sense of humanity.