April 6 – May 17, 2018
Roll Up Project is pleased to present work by Mildred Howard.
Howard’s sculptures explore concepts of memory, place, history, class, and inequality. She combines everyday objects like glass bottles, frying pans, globes, fabric, and silver to create poetic assemblages that open up a conversation about contemporary American life. As a Bay Area native, Howard grew up steeped in political activism and multiethnic communities. While she may not consider herself a political artist, her works on paper and sculptures often confront topics like race and class head-on.
What’s Black White and Red All Over is featured in the main Roll Up window on Harrison Street. The sculpture consists of three stools topped with frying pans on long, slender handles. Reminiscent of figures or totems, they stand tall and unmoving, differentiated only by their bold color scheme. Frying pans carry a lot of weight, both physically and symbolically. They are an old-fashioned domestic tool for nourishment, often wielded by a maternal figure. In this position, raised up over the handle, they could also be used as a weapon, or as a mask. The title implies a joke or riddle, encouraging the viewer to guess at its meaning.
The windows on Third Street contain two globe sculptures: Dishin’ it Out and Forever Green. In Howard’s own words, “I used the globe…as a ready-made object, which is already invested with meaning and fraught with historical contradiction. I began to use globes as touchstones for considerations of globalization, identity, and the multiple ‘surfaces’ of our world.”*
Dishin’ it Out consists of a camouflaged globe on a silver tray, alluding to America’s international military presence. The pieced camouflage fabric forms new and unknown continents and oceans in green, tan, brown and black. Considering the many edits to maps over the centuries, perhaps this is the globe of the future.
In Forever Green, the globe is entirely covered in astro-turf, creating a fuzzy-textured version of a familiar silhouette. Howard’s assemblage opens up many avenues of meaning, ranging from the sanitizing of nature, our use of plastic materials, or a formal exploration of texture and color. The title implies the unchanging nature of the astro-turf – a material unmarred by nature’s natural cycles.
Mildred Howard has exhibited her sculptural installations, assemblages, and works on paper around the world for over 30 years. She has executed public commissions for the San Francisco International Airport, the City of Oakland, the San Jose Museum of Art, and the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington. Her work has been exhibited at SFMOMA, the New Museum, Creative Time, and SITE San Diego, among many others. She has received awards including the Adeline Kent Award from the San Francisco Art Institute, an NEA fellowship, a Pollock Krasner award, a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant, and a California Arts Council fellowship. Howard lives and works in Emeryville, California.
To learn more about her work, visit Anglim Gilbert Gallery.
* Mildred Howard: Collective Memory, Fresno Art Museum, 2014. catalogue available online here.