Main Gallery: “Crafted: Subverting the Frame”

Featuring Layl McDill, Andrea Alonge and Mary Robinson





JUNE 10, 2023-JULY 23, 2023

Craft. It is associated with handwork, utility, and rooted in tradition. Under its umbrella fall particular materials:metal, wood, clay, fiber, and glass.

In “Crafted: Subverting the Frame”, Layl McDill, Mary Robinson and Andrea Alonge create using colorful contemporary concepts blended with traditional skills to subvert the framework that delineates art, craft, and design. Their work blurs the border between “high” and “low” art, while also breaking free from the confines of the rectangular “canvas”. Employing a broad range of materials, conceptual practices, ways of making, and modes of display that have been historically associated with craft objects, Alonge, McDill and Robinson come together to create a colorful and tactile experience. Boundaries are nebulous, and the compositions burst from the walls with color and uninhibited joy.

Andrea Alonge (she/her)
“Our realities are a mosaic of exchanges with others and our own inner dialogues.”
Andrea Alonge’s work is about connections- connections with others and connections within the self. She sees these interactions and intersections Is overlapping circles, stitches, and materials, creating a physical representation of how we are all linked. Using familiar and universal shapes, Alonge represents how information flows, moves, and is exchanged through various channels, often in a non-linear way. Through her use of vintage patterns combined with contemporary materials, she juxtaposes the tradition of textiles in the home with the colors and flashiness of the digital sphere. Each shimmering tapestry contains “the dual marks of industrialism- the mark of the hand and the mark of the machine”. Plastic elements, bright colors, and sparkly embellishments “point to our experiences with one another in the space of the digital- the flash of the screen, the scroll through the feed, the visual glitch, the influencer background.” Alonge states. “By engaging with existing fabrics both vintage and current, I draw on the past and the present, using the patterns, textures, and colors of the pre-made materials as a mark- making tool while hinting at the history and context of the materials themselves.”

Mary Robinson
Robinson’s Regeneration series was born from previously printed materials, repurposed clothing and “ubiquitous material like cardboard from food packaging and junk mail”. Inspired
by the process of quilting and clothing mending, Robinson combines paper, fiber, and thread to create matrices and substrates to embellish and collage. Worn out clothing becomes paper, old prints turn into collages, and collages become color studies in a cyclical regenerative process. Each iteration evolves in layers, the forms and patterns referencing the collective in a composition which alludes “to abode, harmonic flow, over expansion, explosion and collapse.”

Handwork has often been denigrated as “women’s work” in the past, with the mending of clothing falling into that realm. In our throwaway culture, this regeneration can be seen as a form of rebellion, of activism.

Layl McDill (she/her)
McDill’s medium of choice is polymer clay, wire and found objects. With these, she creates sprawling wall mounted compositions and reimagines mundane vessels filled with color and
mythos. “Polymer clay is a relatively new medium, first invented in the 1930s by a doll maker. As the clay became more widely available in multiple colors in the 1990’s, more artists have
been using this three-dimensional color to create a wide range of artforms, but it’s always been a struggle to be seen as more than just a “craft for kids” medium” explains McDill.
Using this “craft for kids” medium, McDill explores traditional clay forming methods for a sculptural, rather than functional purpose. ”I am transforming an object like a teapot into something completely different,” she states. “Polymer clay is a medium that is so versatile I never seem to run out of ways to use it to reinterpret the world we live in.”

McDill’s expressive wall mounted pieces reimagine craft’s interactions with architecture and space while leading the viewer through a colorful narrative. “Stories help us make sense of our world and help us connect with others. My sculptures are filled with the sensation of story. I wanted the mixed media elements to be a launching pad for a person’s imagination to create their own story as a viewer” shares McDill.

“Crafted: Subverting the Frame” will be on view from June 10th through July 23rd, with the opening reception to be held on June 10th, from 6pm-8pm during Summer on the Streets, Firehouse’s Festival on 4th Avenue.

Artist Bios
Andrea Alonge
Andrea Alonge is a Portland-based artist who works with fabric. She received her MFA in Fiber from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2015, and her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013. She is currently a member of Wellwell Projects in Portland, OR, and has been featured in TextielPlus and ArteMorbida. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently with Wellwell Projects in Portland, Oregon, and from Typhoon Gallery in Seattle, WA. She completed a large-scale installation for Meta Open Arts in Bellevue, WA. in November of 2021. Her current and in-progress work can be found @andreaalonge on Instagram.

Mary Robinson
Mary Robinson is a mixed media artist living in Columbia, SC. She is Professor of Art and Head of the Printmaking Program at the University of South Carolina. Her work is represented by Mike Brown Contemporary in Columbia, SC, and can be seen online at her website,, on Instagram @maryrobinsonstudio and at

Layl McDill
Layl McDill grew up in Gillette, Wyoming where she began creating at a very young age. Her early works were dollhouses, marionettes and even an entire “Smurf Village”. Layl received her BFA in Illustration from the Columbus College of Art Design but she found it more exciting to make sculptural work and sell it through galleries and art fairs. She has exhibited her work around the country since 1994. Polymer clay has been her medium of choice using the millefiori technique and mixed media materials added. The theme of wonderment permeates her sculptures that are covered with endless details. Her work can also be found in numerous books and publications.