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Artist Profile update: Denise Perreault

Men Eat First, 2009

A couple of years ago, Denise Perreault shared her amazing beaded curtains with us. She also shared her creative inspirations and process, which I think you'll find fascinating. You can read about Denise in her artist profile.  Well, I recently asked Denise if she would care to share an update with us, and I think you're going to just flip over her new work!  Another way to keep up with Denise is to become her fan on facebook: Denise Perreault Bead Artist.  

Denise Perreault has been concentrating on sculptural beadwork for the past year, completing both "Freak Show Ferris Wheel" and "The Men Eat First" from found objects in 2009. "The scavenger in me loves to find discarded items that I can repurpose into art," says Denise. "It's satisfying to be challenged by a piece of "junk," -- like the iron flower pot wheel that inspired "Freak Show Ferris Wheel" -- and transform it into something beautiful, provocative, or humorous."

Freak Show Ferris Wheel, 2009

Denise's newest piece reveals something of her values, as "Freak Show Ferris Wheel," (22" high x 17" wide x 5" deep), is peopled by her opinion of who 21st century circus freaks might be. Each chair bears the title of the riders: "The Misogynist," at top, throws popcorn at "The Trophy Wife," while "The Sports Fanatic" is so wrapped up in the game on his podcast that he's oblivious to the ride. "The Religious Fundamentalist" argues with the Ferris Wheel operator, whose "White is Right" tee-shirt marks him as a racist. Finally, "The Homophobe" and his friendly dog are angering "The Animal Hater" below him. The piece reveals Denise's
frustration with America's increasing polarization.

"The Men Eat First" (tallest figure 13" high), was inspired by the Indonesian folk art candle sticks given to her by a friend who was purging things during a move.  Instead of candles, the women bear plates of food, and their voluminous beaded skirts contrast starkly with their thinness. Here Denise comments on her time as a Peace Corps volunteer in a tiny Tunisian village in the mid-90's, where she struggled to abide by the traditional Muslim custom of the men and guests, like herself, being served the meat and choicest foods first, while the women and children ate whatever was left over. "Skinny old Pier One Import candle-holders," says Denise, "seemed the perfect cast-off to convey the injustice I felt towards that tradition." These pieces and others will be exhibited in a group show entitled "Rough Ruffles" that Denise curated for the Dairy Center for the Arts in Colorado for 2011.

A new honor for Denise was to be chosen this year as a juror for a fiber arts exhibit running this spring at the University of Colorado in Boulder entitled "Re-Connections." "This was my first experience as a juror," says Denise, "and it gave me a better understanding of how and why certain pieces are accepted. Besides space considerations, there's also the challenge of choosing pieces that represent the breadth of the theme, so sometimes excellent pieces are passed over in favor of other pieces that present an innovative use of new materials, or even a bright color that's wanted for a muted gallery corner. The bottom line," says Denise, "is to
always submit high-quality images, but to never take a show rejection personally."

Denise is also busy writing free-lance articles for her local newspaper, as well as researching her family's French-Canadian ancestry as a 75th birthday gift for her father.

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Beautiful and thought-provoking at the same time. I love The Men Eat First especially with Denise' own back story.