Quiet Resilience of the Body: Origins and Presence

Samara Johnson

Horse hair, synthetic sinew, willows, copper rings, cheese cloth, latex, stain, encaustic wax, felted wool, Tyvek Housewrap, wire, crystal, Rope, Gracie’s skull

Within this body of work, I use materials that link to being raised in the backwoods of Alaska by my craftswoman mother and working with horses. The various hanging pieces utilize materials such as: sinew, gel polymers and horse and human hair to elucidate the emotional relationships, particularly related to anxiety and trauma, between unseen internal systems and the visible environment outside the body. For example, the hair, exists as a literal intersection between the inside and outside of the body, and brings the pieces back to the body. 


The piece that greets the viewer into the installation is made mostly of synthetic sinew, with a circular portal leading the viewer into the space. This piece is soft and vulnerable in nature, but is confrontational in its fence-like shape. The viewer is confronted with a silent resilience, by which they can cross to view the other pieces. If the viewer walks past this work, they are able to peer into other works. The materials used here (sinew, horse hair, wax, a metal ring, and willows) are elements of material strength. There is a silent strength in the tradition of craft. Between my mother’s teachings, and being raised in a remote/rigid environment, I learned how to be creative with what materials were available.

MFA Interview with Kealey Boyd

  • Instagram