Martha Cliffel’s Catholic upbringing is reimagined through irreverent revolts and progressive looks forward. She truly ‘saves’ and creates shrines assembled by others discards from flea markets, bodegas and thrift stores. She praises, preaches, prods, pokes and throws punches through the hatching, catching, patching, matching and dispatching taking place in the Catholic’s life.
Kristen Cliffel is a graduate of Cleveland Institute of Art and a recipient of the Mid Career award by the Cleveland Arts Prize. My work is an exploration of “Domestic Mythologies”. Our culture surrounds us with pervasive archetypal myths and fairytales. When measured against these “Storybook” expectations, life appears daunting. “Happiness” and “Fulfillment” seem bloated and are almost punishing when viewed through fairytale lenses. I find myself at odds with prescribed routes to “Happily Ever After” and “Success”.
Creating artwork is the way I express my questions, concerns and hopes for the future. Being a wife and mother, I find myself wedged into roles that both trouble and delight me. The emotional concept of “Home”, belonging to someone and someplace, seem integral to human fulfillment. The perilous and circuitous routes to these goals are what I investigate in my sculpture. Connection, safety, security, hope and fear are some of the emotional triggers that crystalize ideas for me.
Martha and Kristen share a studio at the Lake Erie Screw Factory in Lakewood.