Kevin Long

MFA ’19 Fine Arts Low-Residency

I create sculptures from disassembled furniture. Items recovered from my grandparents’ home combine with the wood of the furniture to create objects that reflect my personal investigation of the lives of my recently deceased family members, the fragility of human bodies and power of presence and absence. The works grapple the temporality of our existence, and the uncomfortably complex legacies we inherit and leave behind. 

The structures bear the scars of their past trauma. The repairs are often insufficient and many times cause more damage than they undo. They call into question the necessity of the repairs. Each piece teeters on the edge of destruction be it from gravity or its own material frailty.

In the work, personification and anthropomorphization of objects opens the pathway for empathy. By creating moments where the hard becomes soft, the wood takes on characteristics of flesh. Hours spent doing chores and sitting with my grandmother, time spent readying for and caring for a child, are directly analogous to the time spent sewing and joining pieces of furniture together. Repairs to joints and limbs are not symbolic; they are actual physical necessities. The attempts, however futile, are not only important because of their perceived effectiveness at repair and care of the other, but because the process of doing them serves a purpose of repair and care of the self as well. The process of repair is often painful and laborious, but also necessary.

Kevin Long was born in Pembroke, Massachusetts. He holds a BFA in Studio Education and Painting and an MFA in Fine Art from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Kevin spent countless hours watching pro wrestling and 80’s horror movies while working retail and educational support jobs. He currently teaches middle school art in Westwood, Massachusetts and has a studio in East Dedham, Massachusetts, where he lives with his wife Molly, son Ian, and their two dogs, Hank McCoy and Ruth Bader Ginsberg.