The Secret Lives of Inanimate Objects

A studio visit with Denver artist Alex Branch in her studio at the Evans School

Currently, in Southwest Contemporary, you can read about my studio visit with Alex Branch.

Here are some excerpts:

If you mine the Internet for information about the interdisciplinary artist Alex Branch, you’ll learn that she grew up on an island off the coast of Washington, collecting Earth-worn objects washed to shore, pondering the odysseys they mutely contain. As we sat in her studio in the Evans School (in landlocked, water-scarce Denver), I brought up my knowledge of her poetic biography and geographical migrations. From Seattle to Chicago and New York, and artist residencies in Greece, Florida, Missouri, Nebraska, and New Mexico, Branch set an anchor near family in Denver two years ago, finding herself among a supportive art community. 

As I considered Branch’s works-in-progress in her studio, I shared her curiosity about the metaphors enveloped in everyday objects, like messages inside ocean-dispatched bottles. Branch gestured to her water bottle on her desk, telling me that even newly manufactured gadgets hold secret narratives about their production. Contemplating the independent, non-ontological lives objects lead, we admired their fusion of organic and synthetic materials, the animal and mechanical labor involved in their development, and their unpredictable transformations with exposure to various physical and social environments.  

[. . .]

By the end of my studio visit with Branch, I felt like Alice in Wonderland, shrunk to fit inside my own glass bottle and swept away by the torrent of a meandering conversation. Traversing through themes of the natural, synthetic, and surreal aspects of our reality (shared with a multitude of entities we cannot fully control or communicate with) Branch ignited my wonder about a conscious world independent of us.

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