Briena Harmening resides and works in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a 2010 MFA graduate from the University of Tennessee. In February, she will begin teaching art at Hillwood High School.
Cross-stitch, quilts, doilies, the sound of my grandmother’s sewing machine, my mom threading her needle for another country-style alphabet: this is the art I grew up with and it is these kinds of traditional women’s work, infused with autobiography, that drive my own practice.
In my work, I combine fiber media with various forms of painting, thereby pushing the limits of tradition and renegotiating the relationship between art and craft. My work is both contemporary and personal: drawing influences from street art and punk rock, and incorporating found objects and spray painted surfaces that become backgrounds for text. The words that I choose – phrases, fragments, and excerpts – document my thoughts about life, loss, and love. This is one of many binaries I explore and seek to balance in my work, along with the traditional and contemporary, the private and public, the domestic and manufactured, and what is delicate and hard.