Steef Crombach uses iconography as clues to understand our physical environment. She finds inspiration in the commonplace and the local and surfaces overlooked but shared points of reference buried deep within the collective consciousness. In One Bad Monkey, Crombach focuses this process on Austin’s advertising sculptures for commercial businesses.
Through soft sculptures and draping foam relief tapestries, Crombach examines the secret life of local icons like the Wheatsville Raptor and the Big Star Bingo Gorilla. She explores each character’s evolution as its identity morphs over time and place. Her focus on these sculptures highlights the often intangible nature of change and attempts to create a deeper understanding of our shared physical reality.
Crombach’s work reimagines craft using innovative techniques. She produces new shapes and textures by sewing and flocking fabric molds. She also invites movement, change, and storytelling into the exhibition with projection-mapping, animations, and sound. The diversity of materials and practices in One Bad Monkey aims to produce a gesamtkunstwerk – an amalgamation of ideas and visual language reflecting the layered nature of the commercial icons centered in the exhibition.
Multimedia elements of One Bad Monkey are supported by creative technologist and new media artist Casey Alfstad, artist and animator Claire Schlaikjer, and Filipino American improvising flutist Kenzie Slottow.
About the Artist
Steef Crombach (b. 1992) was born in Maastricht in the South of the Netherlands. Crombach earned her B.F.A from the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague in 2014. In the Netherlands, Crombach was nominated for the Royal Painters Prize by Dutch King Willem-Alexander and received the renowned ‘Contribution Young Talent Grant’ from the Mondriaan Fund. Her work ”wat een zonde” won the ‘Stroom Talent Invest Prize’, through which she was able to research cultural and local significance in Austin. Crombach has exhibited widely—her work has appeared all over Austin and beyond. She was The LINE Hotel Austin’s first Artist-in-Residence.
One Bad Monkey is commissioned by Women & Their Work, with additional support from Mondriaan Fund.