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Sculptures Put Hunger and Lack into Potent Visual Perspective for Viewers

Created from grocery bags, Rita Grendze's impressive 3-D immersive installation is designed to prompt viewers into thinking about hunger, prosperity, and more sustainable living. Scroll down for more views.

Artist Name: Rita Grendze

Town: Geneva, IL

Art Education: BFA; MFA in Fiber Arts

Exhibits: Sculptural works have been shown both nationally and internationally

Current: Art Liaison for the Geneva Center for the Arts

If Rita weren’t an artist, no doubt, she’d be a philosophy professor. As a deep thinker who immerses herself into exploring critical issues, thoughts and feelings, she has the artistic chops to transform them into powerful visuals that invite the viewer to join her explorations.

“Belly”, her most recent immersive, sculptural installation which ran May 13 to June 6, 2021 at Artlink gallery in Fort Wayne, IN with the title, HUNGER, boldly reveals her inner dialogues during the 2020 pandemic lockdown.

“That difficult time period gave me an opportunity to reflect on so many things related to hunger and our bellies,” she explains. “I thought about those who eat too much and those who did not have enough to eat. I also thought about how our bellies change over the years and morph into an entirely new shape in middle age.”

Rita’s installation consisted of 16 separate sculptures with the tallest measuring 15-ft and others hovering between 8- and 12-ft long.

“I hoped it would help viewers stop and think about food, having enough of it, and just having enough in general,” she says. “I also hoped it would prompt them to think about their bodies – where we are with our health, where we can be, and to appreciate how our bodies change inside and outside.”

Rita’s project evolved from an unexpected donation by a friend and her desire to never waste anything. She continues, “So, when my friend gave me 100 old Trader Joe grocery bags, I started thinking how fortunate so many of us are, but that even in Geneva, IL people are going hungry.”

Her ideas related to food erupted visually as she began designing her grocery bag sculptures, cutting lengthy strips, using the handles and assembling with staples. She worked in earnest to meet the Artlink gallery installation deadline by putting in 10-hour days up to four days a week until completion.

“I love the physical nature of this work,” she sums up. “I’m never happier than when I’m working on something big and physical,” Rita observes. “It’s funny, but when I’m overloaded on the art side of my life, it also increases efficiency in all areas of my life where I’m running lots of errands or doing my best cooking.”

Obviously, Rita’s life is well-fueled by inspiration – a good message for us all. And, her impressive “Belly” sculptures are ready for their next incarnation wherever that may be – feel free to contact her.

Learn more about Rita here:

Rita Grendze moved to the Chicago area in 2001 where she has been a busy artist teaching workshops and volunteering including working with Redmoon Theater creating costumes and props.


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