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The Mattress Factory is an artist-centered museum, international residency program and renowned producer and presenter of installation art. We say “yes” to artists, offering time and space to dream and realize projects in our hometown, Pittsburgh, PA. We invite audiences from around the world and around the corner to step inside, immerse and connect with the artistic process.

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Naomi Draper

Holding Fragments


This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

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The central element of Naomi Draper's installation Holding Fragments is composed of thousands of pressed Daucus Carota flowers, known commonly as Queen Anne's Lace. These plants were gathered from sites around the city of Pittsburgh over the last two months and are woven together to form an interlaced structure of fabric.

Draper's practice investigates processes of collecting, preserving, and archiving. Working through slow repetitive and meticulous methods of construction she attempts to stretch and consolidate the associative potential of natural particles and fragments harvested from our landscape.

The work references a diverse range of research sources that are centered around botany and botanical activity throughout history. Exploring the relationship between human and plant species, Draper is drawn to the scale, energy, intention, and ambition of eighteenth and nineteenth-century botanical endeavors and developments, when the natural landscape was viewed as a place of wonder and discovery.

While landscape is defined as "all the visible features of an area", Draper is interested in the notion of landscape as a surface, a covering, or veneer. Her artwork considers what it might be concealing and what it might hold. How a closer engagement with these natural materials might lead us to an interior space, slowly revealing the potential and possibility of this space, as a place to shelter the precious and yield that which is valuable; a bank, an archive, a sanctuary.


Factory Installed: September 27, 2019 - March 13, 2020
About The Artist

Naomi Draper explores the fragility of our built and natural environment, investigating what defines space and how it is lived and activated by humans and non-humans. Combining a range of mediums and processes, she examines the structures and boundaries, limitations, and new potentials of public and private environments. Gathering materials within a specific setting, the natural particles she finds and collects inform the process of drawing and construction techniques.

Draper graduated from NCAD with a Bachelor of Design specializing in glass and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Community Arts Education at NCAD. Draper has participated in a number of residency programs, including the LOCIS Residency at Residence Botkyrka, Sweden; The Model, Sligo; and The Harrington Studios, Boyle, Co Roscommon.

More from this Artist

More from this Exhibition

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Laboratory for Other Worlds


Give artists the time, space and resources to create remarkable works of art that help us see our world in new ways.

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