Out & About

March 6, 2014

Artist uses common objects in uncommon ways

PLATTSBURGH — LaThoriel Badenhausen’s bricolage is as vibrant as a rabble of butterflies and fillets realities like a balisong, a butterfly knife, in “Wise Blood,” which opens Friday at the Plattsburgh State Art Museum.

A Minnesota native, Badenhausen riffs off her repurposing roots.

In her artist statement, she writes:

“I make objects and ‘ephemera’ the essence of which I often find in feminine products and domestic goods. I primarily use techniques of bricolage: cut and paste, stitch, stuff, bind, paint, assemble, embellish and display.

“Bricolage was the aesthetic language where I grew up in geographically isolated, culturally insulated rural Minnesota. Transformation was everything. We constructed chaise lounges, game boards and stilts with found lumber; dresses from feed sacks. We scrubbed duck gullets for blowing honks; we dyed and recast wedding gowns as formals for the Dairy Princess Parade. We painted and pasted vernacular images over calendar pictures. For our signature meal, Hot Dish, we combined remnants from previous meals with various cream soups. We up-cycled Burma Shave riddles into local counsel. Sausles general store was both bricolage installation and performance space.

“My concepts originate from those early experiences.”


Inside the Burke Gallery, one wall is blocked with Kotex in “Period Piece.”

“My whole intent of my work anyway is to expose the anonymous or the throwaway or the people that don’t matter,” said Badenhausen, who has a studio in New York City.

“One of which I think of as myself and the culture that formed me, you could say, because I come from very, very rural upper mid-west Minnesota. Rural, rural and part of the nation that no one is interested in, the anonymous. The only experience I know is as a woman, and the other thing is that I have been able to get to use materials, which are domestic, using domestic materials that have been thrown out.”

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