Ahearn, Bren
Installation view (Detail)
Installation view
(l-r) Gratland, Hogan Finlay, Fiveash, Kahn, Ahearn.
Bren Ahearn

Growing up as the son of a craft-loving English teacher, I spent many hours pursuing crafts and playing Scrabble. As I grew older, I believed that in order to fit in with my peers, I had to be in the closet about my crafting, eventually stopping my creative activities altogether. My Scrabble playing, however, continued and turned into a life-long love of the study of language that intersects with my current art practice.

In 1996, I signed up for a textiles class, thereby reawakening my dormant artistic side. I am attracted to textiles because textiles are like language – both are subtle, yet powerful. Also, both can protect, expose, reveal social position, and show affiliation. I later learned that the words textile and text are derived from the same root, and several of my earlier pieces are focused on this text-textile connection.

Since my enrollment in the M.F.A. program at San Francisco State University, my focus has expanded beyond this literal connection to the multi-layered texts or readings of the cloth, as my peers and instructors working in varied media have inspired me to broaden my focus. Recent themes that have emerged in my work are the socialization of American men to be violent (as explored in my Sampler #1, which investigates peer pressure on boys to fight), and conflicting views on sexuality/masculinity (as explored in my Joy of Fighting series, which is derived from cage fighting imagery). My hope is that upon reading my work, viewers will engage in a dialogue about the confining nature of hegemonic behavioral norms.

website: http://www.brenahearn.com/

Sampler #1 (2008)
Linen, cotton
28 x 22 inches

Navy Shirt #1 (2008)
Found object, cotton
28 x 22 inches
Sampler #2 and #3 (2008)
Cotton
20 x 16 inches
Mandmade #1 (2007)
Cotton, plastic hoop
5.75 x 9.5 inches