Tri State Sculptors Association

Promoting public awareness and appreciation for sculpture in the VA, NC, and SC areas

Member spotlight:  Naomi Falk

Current Location Columbia, SC

Current profession / employment?   Assistant Professor of Studio Art: 3D Studies, University of South Carolina


Where are you from originally? How long have you lived in your current location / profession?

I grew up in the Detroit 'burbs and in rural mid-Michigan. I have lived in the Midwest, Northeast, Northwest, and now live in the Southeast, in Columbia, SC. I've been an educator for over 15 years.

What is your favorite medium, scale, genre/themes/body of work, etc? 

Often working in multiples, my work is increasingly fiber-based and frequently uses found objects and materials (jeans, bed sheets, reclaimed wood, construction materials). I am drawn to their histories and connotations. Often, the sculptures/installations have performative elements and become large-scale through inviting participation with viewers and gallery-goers. My work considers political and environmental landscapes and the balance between staked territory and collective communities. Questions include: What measures do we take to feel safe? How do we negotiate this world of physical and psychological borders and how do we find our place?

Who are your sculpture heros/heroines? What inuences your work the most?

Early sculpture influences include: Magdalena Abakanowicz, Ann Hamilton, Janine Antoni, Antony Gormley, Mona Hatoum, Marina Abramović, Annette Messager, Louise Bourgeois, Doris Salcedo... More recently: Sonya Clark, Vanessa German, Fred Wilson, Hand Willis Thomas, Frau Fiber, Kim Beck, Michael Strand, Jean Shin, Nina Katchadourian, Judith Scott, Jen Delos Reyes, and Aram Han Sifuentes...and so many others.

One influence in my work is allowing time to tinker with objects or materials (and their histories) while loosely holding an idea in my head (like borders or boundaries). These quick compositions often surprise me. I often think about how and where I, and others, fit into the world and how experiential sculptures might help build empathy and connection.

What makes you want to keep on making sculpture / art?

I have more questions.

What is your favorite tool?

Ha! My favorite tool is brainstorming. My next favorite tool is whatever is right tool for the right job (this is open for interpretation).

Do you have a favorite quote, or words of wisdom?

I often go back to this quote by Ann Hamilton: “How do you, as an artist, make the tactile present?...How we think when we move, are in motion, when we are talking, and when we are still, are all different forms of cognition…They make you pay attention differently… Something happens that you can’t name.”

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