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The Hell of Persistent Pretending
video by Colleen Harvey
bioMaggy Rozycki Hiltner was born in 1975 and grew up in Pennsylvania. She comes from a family of makers: her mother and grandmothers needlepointed pillows, made quilts, and stitched or knitted their clothes and toys; her father built odd things, cooked outrageous meals, and painted murals in their home. She earned a BFA in Sculpture with a concentration in Fibers from Syracuse University and was a Studio Assistant at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Rozycki Hiltner is a full-time artist living with her husband and two daughters in Red Lodge, Montana. Her work has been included in numerous national and international exhibitions in museums and galleries, and has been published in the US and abroad.
artist statementOne of my favorite activities when visiting a new city is to scour the antique shops for embroidery. I collect mainly flowers and foliage but am especially drawn to the animals that are meant to be cute but instead come off with a sinister snarkiness. There’s a sadness to antique shops, and for me, especially in the embroidery - the many hours that were devoted to stitching these now discarded treasures. I like to think that in using these found bits and pieces in my work, I’m giving them a new life, a way to be precious once more. And I’m fascinated by how memory works. Why do some scenes and stories stick and others are only vaguely available to me? Why are some of my most recurring memories so emotionally charged while others are thoroughly mundane. I’ve found that in recreating these moments in my work, they change in how I hold them in my mind. My hope is that if the image I’ve created feels true, it will transmute for the viewer, evoke a recognition in them. Our anxieties, insecurities, joys and pains are oddly common. ‘Is it autobiography if parts of it are not true? Is it fiction if parts of it are?’---Lynda Barry I love to create images that at first appear whimsical or vibrantly happy but on closer inspection are not quite so. Sometimes it’s a malicious undertone to the relationships, or a lack of self-control on the part of the characters, or maybe an otherworldlyness hidden in the everyday. I like how this subtext works against the comfortable and innocuous medium of fabric and stitching. I’ve tasked myself with questioning the artifacts of my culture by changing their context and content. Working with handmade remnants of the past, I repurpose them to comment on the present. Working in found materials, I employ a multitude of anonymous assistants. I try to celebrate and elevate their abandoned handwork.
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