Archive for the 'Art criticism' Category



A publication and a publisher hit the dust (by Olga Norris)

From the age of four I wanted to be an artist.  Later I grew to appreciate writing in its various forms, and was lucky enough to have a fulfillingly creative career in publishing.  When the career became distinctly less creative I turned my attention more fully onto becoming more involved with personal expression.  This was aided and perhaps even specifically directed by an inspirational magazine I found while living in the USA in the very early 80s: Fiberarts.  

I did not turn to textiles immediately.  Such is the power of the accepted view of what being an artist is that I worked first in acrylics on paper.  But I subscribed to Fiberarts, just as I had subscribed to Crafts magazine for years previously.  It was a combination of my previous experience with textiles as a child, the constant inspiration and broadening of my thinking by reading Fiberarts, and the encounter with a fascinating exhibition entitled Art of the Stitch by the UK Embroiderers’ Guild which finally tipped me over.

 I found a voice of my own at the turn of the century, but the desire for incoming inspiration and information about the work of others, their expressions and their intentions has not diminished.  I am sad that Fiberarts is now no more.  I must admit that I have been expecting it ever since it was bought by a company which seemed primarily interested in enormous circulation; but I take no pleasure in being proved right.  I am only glad that the Internet is there to supply serendipitous delights – but what is missing there is critical nourishment.

 I had hoped some years ago that Telos books would grow into a list spanning from introductions to the artists in various countries using textile as their medium, through monographs on particular artists, to academic texts.  The visuals were stunning.  The design seductive, but the text was sadly lacking, and increasingly more so as the price increased.  Even a book addict hooked on art textiles stopped buying some years ago now.  So now Telos is also no more.

 Does this mean that there is no market for thoughtful, thought-provoking critical analysis within and about art which uses textile forms and techniques?  Have those of us who want to exchange thoughts more about intention than technique been swamped by the seemingly ever increasing thirst for the latter?  Is it out there and I’ve just missed it somehow?

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Fit for purpose (by Olga Norris)

I recently visited an exhibition of the work of art editor and graphic designer David Hillman.  He is a man whose work I have long admired – and indeed did not know that he was the one behind all the different manifestations.  From the days of the iconic Nova magazine, the glory days of the Sunday Times newspaper, the surreal Benson and Hedges cigarette advertisements, all the designs for Pentagram , … these are images which brought feelings of wonder, excitement, a need to see and know more.  This was the kind of design that I dreamed of aspiring to in my publishing work.

In each case the image was more than the sum of its parts, and was definitively fit for purpose: it drew the appropriate attention to the product, not to the designer of the image – except from fellow professionals.  Good product design similarly excites me, as does brilliant architectural design.  In each case the end result should be at the very least fit for purpose, and also hold some individual integrity beyond the sum of its parts.

 Design is done to a brief which provides boundaries and requirements, as well as the discipline of a necessary respect for the materials and techniques involved.  I have always believed that the more one knows, but the less one indulges oneself the better prepared becomes the vital tool of the brain’s back burner.

 Although art and design are different disciplines, they should overlap, just as they should both overlap with craft.  The more frequently exercised debate is the one between craft and art; but the one not often enough heard is that between design and art, most especially the question of fitness for purpose.

Of course this fitness for purpose in art this is not so clearly defined as in product design, architecture, even graphic design and craft.  And it goes without saying that I am not in the least talking about any practical purpose.  The artist themselves and time are the important judges of what that purpose is; but the informed observer – whether a practising artist or not – should keep seeking to make critical judgments of their own – even if those judgments are later refined or even revised in the light of further enlightenment.  And by critical I do not mean only negative judgements or observations.

 I do believe that there should be a fitness for purpose in one’s art, and that this should constantly be under consideration.  This design thinking, once second nature, along with mastery of appropriate craft and its twin, appreciation of materials, facilitates those special tools of the artist – imagination and the back burner – in making good art: something more than the sum of its parts.

TRASH, ART AND CRAFT

This post was also published at my WordPress blog Webs and Threads. At June Underwood’s invitation I am sharing this interesting work by weaver Aymar Ccopacatty since it coincides with my recent travel and experiences with trash in India. Aymar’s emphasis in weaving is on using trash found in the landscape of Peru.

(For some reason, the wonderful youtube video of Aymar in Peru weaving  isn’t currently being accepted on this blog but can be seen at the Webs And Threads blog and at Aymar’s website listed at the end of the post. I will try to add it again later.)

~Nancy Engstad

From my post on websandthreads.wordpress.com~

One of the things that is ubiquitous in India is the presence of trash. This is something that seems to exist whether in city or countryside and it was quite an overwhelming part of being in this country for the first time. The roadsides are covered in it; adults, children, and animals seem oblivious to the tide of discarded paper and trash of every type that is part of everyday life.

I had an opportunity in Udaipur to chat with an Indian activist, visiting from his home in California. He was a guest at the home of my friends there, sharing with them their great passion for aiding the people of India. In the course of our conversation I did ask finally, about this tremendous problem. His answer made perfect sense. In times past, he explained, trash in India was of the organic kind which in time, would degrade or decay. The trash of the 20th and 21st Centuries has an infinite lifespan and confounds the old traditions of keeping the interiors of homes spotless by sweeping out daily litter from the door.

A street scene in India.

A gypsy camp by the roadside in India at dusk.

So the topic of trash was in my mind when I received an email announcement for an exhibition from an artist I’ve known since his first exhibition at the age of three. Aymar Ccopacatty had just immigrated from Peru with his Peruvian father and American mother when we met. His father Peruko, is also an artist and comes from the ancient Peruvian people, the Aymara.

Now thirty, Aymar Ccopacatty, spends time both in the United States and in Peru where he pursues his weaving and is passionate as well about preserving the ancient Peruvian traditions of weaving.

Recently Aymar sent me an announcement of his exhibition in New York City of the weavings he had created using trash from the landscape of Peru. As in India, the old and the new seem to collide in Peru, without a means of managing the detritus of modern times.  Aymar has addressed the situation in Peru by using trash to spin and weave into art, a powerful statement about his culture and the relationship of his traditions with the West.

Here is a scene sent by Aymar of a lake view in Peru.

Following is a statement from Aymar on what he considers his life’s work, preserving the ancient traditions of weaving as they meet with the changing modern influences in the Peruvian culture.

“I was born in Peru, my Father’s land, of two distinct cultures.We lived there until my second birthday, before returning to my Mother’s land in the U.S. Since then, much of my life’s exploration has been dedicated to fully understanding the dichotomies of these two greatly different cultures as they exist within and outside of myself.

I am a weaver. My work combines modern material with ancient technique. I n myexplorations I have built looms, spun and knitted using trash such as plastic and rubber tires. Much of the trash comes from Lake Titicaca, an ancient and ecologically sensitive environment 12,000 feet above sea level. The language and culture here is Aymara, a millennial language dating back to pre-Inca Wari and Tiwanaku empires. The work is a synthesis of tradition with modernity. I feelthat sometimes tradition must change and build upon its origins in order to achieve continued relevance in modern contexts, while also serving as a vehicle to express the concerns of an isolated and culturally marginalized people on the fringes of Peruvian society.

I learned the techniques of spinning, weaving and knitting within a traditional indigenous Aymara lifestyle. My Grandmother Maria, a master weaver, would spend her days in the fields and nights at home, all the while spinning her drop spindle to a rhythm of lake and sky. At the age of fifteen I began learning from her. Traditionally men wove bolts of cloth on a stiff heddle loom, and the women wove their elaborate and colorful designs on string-heddled tension looms. I saw that as things changed, both men and women might abandon this knowledge completely.

Slowly this abandonment has come to pass. The Awayu is the traditional carrying cloth of Andean women. As the Aymara enter modernity many of these traditional cloths are now being made of synthetic materials on machine looms. This combination of new material and process cuts us off from the past. The traditional Andean weavings are warp-faced and are strung up to the desired final length. If looked at from the side, one sees the shape as an Infinity symbol. They are never cut or sewn. The older weavings are thought to contain a bit of the Elder’s presence and energy, and are therefore sacred. Within the traditional weaving of the Aymara, originating millennia ago, are held elements of color, composition, and structure that form a metaphysical complexity and language of great cultural meaning. This art form is now threatened with extinction.

Peru is a nation built on layers and layers of human habitation and pre-Colombian cultures dating back through time. Now, more than five hundred years after the Spanish conquest, the nation is just beginning to accept its indigenous identity and rich past. As with most indigenous peoples worldwide, life for these peoples in modern Peru hasn’t been equal or fair.

This interplay between ancient and modern society is something very necessary today. Though both societies find each other sharing a shrinking Planet, there is room for all.

Indigenous people combine form and function. Woven and knitted pieces, are simultaneously used to acknowledge and celebrate our ceremonial place in the Universe, while also providing everyday uses such as, clothing, backpacks, lower back support, plates, weaponry, boats and roofs. Spiritual significance is not separated from functional object. This unity of ideas over time have found expression in my people’s weaving tradition.

The Aymara traditionally use the term “Qara” to denote one outside of their culture.This word literally means “Naked” or “wears no identity”. Taken further, it implies that Western clothing originally struck the Aymara as lacking a ”transmission of ideas”.   To us these conceptual signifiers of color and design transmit our ideas as the highest expression of Humankind’s place in the Cosmos. Since the traditional weaving of Peru is and has truly been a vehicle for transmission of ideas I feel that it rises above the merely functional “craft” definition, existing rather as an expressive and communicative art form. Only in broadening and changing the way the West shapes its definitions can we hope to preserve our ancient spiritual and creative heritage to share with future generations.”

Beautiful examples of the transformation of trash from the Peruvian landscape into art by Aymar Ccopacatty.

As an experimental textile artist, Aymar has used interesting methods and materials to weave his pieces. With an emphasis on found materials, you will see that he has recycled both the “fiber” and the loom from found material of the most humble and simple variety.

While “found” objects and material are now often used in the making of art, Aymar’s work invests an intention in his pieces that draws on his heritage and calls upon us to view them in that context.  They are both thoroughly “new” and “old” at the same time.

Aymar Ccopacatty
www.aymart.org

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The fool on the hill (by Olga Norris)

This thought bunch was triggered by a news item: a former Guantanamo guard apologising to two former prisoners.  During the interview one of the prisoners commented that translators at the prison did not always render correctly what had been said.  My immediate thought was how powerful translators are, and what a great contribution to one’s own abilities knowing another language is.

I read a lot of books by foreign authors, and am conscious of what a difference a good translation makes to the enjoyment and appreciation of the author’s work.  Indeed a good translator should be able to overcome some of an author’s language shortcomings – or should they?

As I mused further about being able to see both sides, and being able to take an overview, I turned to my recently broached topic of criticism – and to the power of the critic.  In the art world the late Clement Greenberg leaps to mind.  It was when I read the excellent Anthony Caro: Quest for the New Sculpture that I realised what a huge role Greenberg played in Caro’s development.

Shakespeare’s fools are often the eyes which can speak the politically unwise.  How good it would be to be our own fools: to stand on the hill and see both sides.  The difficulty arises when distance is not what is needed to develop good work.  Sometimes the blinkered determination of a clear but narrow view is what produces the great breakthrough – sometimes there is no translation because there is no equivalence.

I guess that’s when the translator’s art is most needed in the widest sense of interpretation.  And that is when we need their best work.  Should that translator be the most efficient, effective objective conduit, or like Greenberg have a substantial subjective input?  I think my own ambition in this field is to use both, to inform myself as much as possible so that I can be my own fool to look around at the whole landscape as well as my own patch of ground.

Is there however sufficient informed critique about contemporary textiles?  There are many descriptive articles informing us about the artists and their work.  Telos Art Publishing produce many beautiful books which inform us visually, and which have descriptive and biographical texts, but only three volumes of serious critique in their Reinventing Textiles series.  I reviewed the first two volumes, and was disappointed that so much obfuscatory academic-speak was employed.  I suppose that’s perhaps necessary to make sure that the text is not seen as more general articles for hobbyists. 

To be fair, magazines are improving.  Fiberarts, Surface Design, Embroidery are all including many more serious articles, and Craft Arts International I find excellent, although textiles is a minority subject there.  I used to subscribe to Sculpture magazine until the exchange rate made the cost prohibitive – there the work of artists such as Annette Messager and others who similarly use textile materials or techniques is discussed seriously within a wider context.  I miss those views, and just this minute while thinking of that loss, I have decided that instead of entering the lottery of the Quilt Visions exhibition I shall renew my subscription to Sculpture magazine.  So here I sit with my foolish grin, delighted in anticipation.

I think that there is a gap, a need for a wider serious (but not a pseudo-academic-self-importance-speak) critique of textiles such as that produced from time to time by Linda Millar (see her latest touring exhibition: Cultex) so that we can learn more about the wide landscape in which we are tilling our own soil.

Reaction and/or judgement? (by Olga Norris)

Deep thought

I have recently made two visits to a solo exhibition of a celebrated textile artist – one whom I have admired for many years and whose work I have loved.  But on seeing the show my anticipated delight was abruptly turned to disappointment and doubt.

In this post I want to discuss my response and ask questions of others out there rather than to talk specifically about the work in question.  I want to think out loud about how we form our critical responses to work.  I want to find out how others deal with instant instinctive reactions, quietly considered judgements, and gradually – or even dramatically evolving opinions.

As I say, the artist is one whose work I have responded to positively for a long time, and that admiration has persisted throughout  my own education within the field.  I understand so much more about technique on many levels now, but this work has remained up there as excellent and inspiring.  I would place the artist up amongst the special few.

This exhibition contains one large piece in the familiar style, but also many illustrating a new approach.  I found those to be ‘too easy’, taking advantage of technique perhaps to speed up completion.  I found that they appeared deliberately commercial – meaning made to make more product from a ‘name’ – rather than speaking with an integrity of their own.  I find that they are not good work – and by that I mean so much more than just that I did not like them.

I was downcast and confused.  Because these days I am in a precarious emotional state personally I wondered whether my judgement had gone haywire.  Was I dismissing these works because they seemed rough, and different?  Was I unwilling to accept that the artist’s approach had changed?  Should an artist not be entitled to take advantage of esteem and ‘churn out’ a few lesser pieces (if they are indeed generally accepted as lesser) in order to make a living?

I felt that here was an area for further pondering.  I can make use of my few free hours to make the short journey to visit the show again and again to examine and re-examine my reactions.  On my second visit I noticed that all the smaller pieces I find attractive -‘acceptable’! – have been sold, but those which I find unresolved and unsatisfactory still unsold.  But is that just good old convention at work?  Is that simply the market asking for more of what it already has deemed acceptable – and thus makes it so difficult for anyone with a well defined style of work to change in any way?

I don’t think that I am stuck in my opinions, but then perhaps I wouldn’t.   I would like to read what others think about this general principle of an approach to work, and how one gauges whether a work is good even if one doesn’t like it – or obversely judges that a work is slight even if one likes it tremendously.  Do changing tastes affect the integral quality of  work?

Musing on Museums (by Clairan Ferrono)

Before I get started on my museum musing, let me note that mine was the last post on this blog.  And that was over a month ago.  Is anyone out there interested in posting regularly or occasionally? This blog has been an important ingredient in my personal art education, so I should hate to see it fade away.

(Now I must also tell you that most of the images you will see in this post are not those I saw at the museum, but ones I scooped off the internet!)

Rothko

Rothko

Last week  another art quilter (Glenys Mann of Tamworth, Australia) and I went to the recently opened Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago.  As you might imagine, this has gotten rather a lot of press here in Chicago.  Not only is a major portion of the modern collection  available for viewing and gathered together for the first time, the building itself is attracting a lot of attention.  We entered from Millenium Park, itself a worthy attraction!  I have no way of knowing the architectural significance of the building, but I can say it’s a pleasure to be in and look at art in:  light, airy and spacious.

Pollock

Pollock

On the ground floor is a special exhibitions hall.   I was happy to see the Cy Twombly exhibit (see a previous Ragged Cloth post on Twombly); all the work was new to me, but I felt like he was an old friend.  I could go through quite quickly, knowing where in his oeuvre things occurred and how they connected, and just concentrate on paintings I was particularly drawn to. And this viewing, then, provided a context I hadn’t expected for the rest of my visit.

Newman

Newman

The sections we visited were divided into American Art 1945 – 1960, American Art 1960-present, and European Art 1945-present.  As regular readers of RC know by now, I love Abstract Expressionism, so the 1945-1960 section was attractive to me.  The Rothko, Newman and Pollock were very nice, but not my favorites, so I moved on.  I was reminded that I don’t like de Kooning, Rothtenburg, or Kline, but maybe I’d like to learn more about Kline.  As you know, I believe that it’s hard to like or even to look at with appreciation artists that one has no “way into.”  And that’s how I feel about Kline.  So perhaps further study will lead me to appreciate him more.

I was particularly drawn to Joan Mitchell’s City Landscape (below).  It seems to represent the ganglion of a city’s nerves in the center of the painting which is vibrant and energetic and full of motion.  Note to self:  look at more Mitchell.

Mitchell City Landscape

Mitchell City Landscape

We then moved on to the more contemporary Americans.  I was immediately struck by a fairly recent Jasper Johns encaustic piece whose name I did not remember to write down, although I sketched some parts of it and wrote extensive notes about it.  It was a large painting, almost entirely gray, hinged on the side with parts of doors and  a cord hanging down from it.

Johns

Johns

I was particularly impressed by the painting, which  had shapes reflecting the shape of the cord, an actual shadow produced by the cord, and painted shadows.  Reflections of reflections of reflections.  I had never before been particularly interested in Johns, although I do remember wanting to see the Grey exhibit and not being able to.  So now I shall have to investigate Jasper Johns more thoroughly.

Then I looked at some paintings by people I had never even heard of (which is not surprising as I know very little of the contemporary art scene) :

Ellen Gallagher Untitled 1999 , Mary Heilmann Heaven 2004, and Margherita Manzelli Dopo la fine 2008. (I remind you that these are not the images of the paintings I’m writing about.)

Gallagher

Gallagher

I was very intrigued by these three and spent quite some time taking notes on each of these artists’ works, vowing to look them up and see more work by them.

Heilmann

Heilmann

By the time I had found the David Hockney and the Gerhardt Richter, I was too tired to look more than cursorily.  After all, I am a member of the museum and can come back and look whenever I want–how lucky am I?!  And then my friend came back and insisted I look at the Joseph Cornell with her!  And I adore Cornell, so off I went, glancing at Lucien Freund and Francis Bacon as I went (two I don’t like, important as I know they are. . . .).

Manzelli

Manzelli

After we had sat down and had something to eat, my friend and I were able to discuss what we had seen.  And I started to think seriously of what the curator does and how it affects our vision of art in a museum.  Why are certain paintings grouped together? We so rarely get to read why a curator makes the decisions he/she makes.  If I am in a room with 4 or 6 or 10 artists, loosely associated in time, and my knowledge of art history is weak, then what do I learn by the association?  I have to be very, very attentive to make out the connections (assuming the curator is a good one and there are connections other than simple chronology), unless I have prior knowledge  of a group or a period.  I have realized that I really prefer to see a large body of one artist’s work at a time so that I can educate myself, make observations and connections, and get a feel for what the artists is doing over a  period of time.  But a large collection, like that of the Art Institute, is great for introducing me to the myriad of artists I have not seen before, or showing me a side of someone I had previously rejected, or revealing to me themes or ideas  or commonalities I had been previously unaware of  among a group I know something about (our old friends the Abstract Expressionists, of course!).

I wonder if your recent viewing experiences at museums have been at all similar to mine?

Maya Lin: Systematic Landscapes (by Eileen Doughty)

Maya Lin, with sculpture from Bodies of Water series

Architect and artist Maya Lin has developed a large body of work relating to landscapes — large both in number and scale. I visited the Corcoran Gallery of Art, in Washington, DC, to see her indoor pieces.  (The show runs through  July 12.) Many readers will recognize Lin as the architect of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall.  However, that was decades ago, and she does not want to known solely by that one iconic monument.  In an interview in the Washington Post, she described her delight when a visitor asked about her newer pieces without mentioning the iconic monument.

Columbia River (pushpins)

Columbia River (pushpins)

Walking up the marble steps to the galleries, the first installation on view was “Pin River – Potomac.”  It is composed of hundreds of mundane metal-headed pins pushed into the wall, maybe 10 x 10 feet in extent.  It looks very accurate to my cartographer’s eye, with the two branches of the river starting as thin lines in the west, merging in West Virginia and widening as it nears the Chesapeake.  It is (or should be) recognizable to anyone familiar with the geography of this region (I live in Virginia), but to others it may be more abstract.  For example, the catalog/book of Lin’s landscape body of work includes a similar push pin map of the Columbia River (shown here), long and thin and not at all recognizable to me.  Outside of any other cartographic context, it becomes simply a sort of meandering, sketched line.  The shadows of all those pins adds interest.

2 x 4 Landscape

2 x 4 Landscape

The floor of the first room was almost entirely filled with over 54,000 sections of wooden 2×4 blocks at various heights, forming a hill or ocean swell (or both), named “2×4 Landscape”.  I felt as though I were looking from a great height over a vast ancient city of small earthen buildings packed together, seeing only the roofs.  The block heights vary from a few inches to perhaps 10 feet, too high to see the top surface.  They are laid in a grid, as if on top of graph paper, but small variations suggest the hand(s) of people who laid down all those blocks; the human element is implied by imperfection.  Neighboring blocks are at slightly different heights, and variations in color of the wood also are a delight to the eye.  Lin wished that the Corcoran would allow visitors to walk up the hill — wouldn’t that be fun!  However, apparently the Corcoran thought otherwise.

Atlas Landscape

Atlas Landscape

The only color in the otherwise monochromatic  exhibition was a set of atlases, displayed open, where Lin had meticulously cut out contoured sections through a dozen or so successive pages, resulting in cratered voids.  The visible parts of the pages were like sedimentary layers of rocks.  One atlas had index pages cut away, teasing the eye with black-and-white patterns from the bits of visible place name indices.

“Fractured Landscapes” were a series of very large rubbings, sepia-toned pastel on paper. A pane of  plate glass was cracked (I can imagine it being dropped and left flat on a floor), and Lin then laid paper over certain sections to make the rubbings.  The patterns are highly suggestive of river systems.  What a clever way to find complex natural lines in a simple manufactured material.

Fractured Landscape

Fractured Landscape

Similarly, “Plaster Relief Landscapes” used the medium of plaster on one white wall of a hallway.  Lin sculpted four types of landscape patterns in the plaster, smoothing the edges of each rectangular area nearly seamlessly into the wall.  There were no boundaries.  To me, they were suggestive of sand dunes, irregular hills, a canyon, and islands in a braided river.

When in a boat, do you ever wonder about what is below the water surface?  The “Bodies of Water” series uses beautiful Baltic birch plywood to show us the hidden volumes of the Caspian, Black and Red seas (see image at top).  Think of the land holding the water being used as a mold, and these sculptures are what are formed in a sort of lost-wax process.  The top layer of plywood corresponds to the surface of the sea, and each layer beneath conforms to the detailed curves of the bathysphere.  They look a bit like aircraft carriers, precariously balanced on pedestals.  The surface is a light tan, showing the grain of the wood, similar to ripples or contours; the layers below show the gorgeous dark amber variations of the plywood edges.  I wished that they had been displayed bottoms-up, accenting the unknown parts of the seas, making it easier to see the depths but  abstracting them more.

Water Line

Water Line

One of the most satisfying sculptures was “Water Line”,  completely filling a room with a wide grid of black wire, with various points touching the floor or the ceiling.  The viewer must walk underneath it.  It maps the area around Bouvet Island, a very isolated spot in the South Atlantic.  The wires are much like drawn lines, with small bumps and irregularities showing the hand of the artist.    Lin seems to be playing with  how we normally read maps, making you look up towards a surface and read a map larger than yourself — or be inside the map.

Outside of that room were smaller woven wire sculptures, “wire landscapes”, a few feet across, showing one hilly feature each.  After the majesty of “Water Line” these seemed more like sketches.

Blue Lake Pass

Blue Lake Pass

“Blue Lake Pass” fills the final room.  Lin invites the viewer to literally walk in her scaled-down Rocky Mountain landscape. The installation is split into 20 sections (laid out 4 x 5) with enough space for a person to walk between (but not wheelchairs, I noticed).  The heights ranged from 6 inches to perhaps 5 1/2 feet — a very human scale, though the viewer cannot see the entire surface from any one point.  Instead of horizontal layers of wood like “Bodies of Water”, “Blue Lake Pass” is composed of vertical layers of plywood, each layer individually contoured.  A multitude of lines become three-dimensional.  It brought to my mind a lush surface of brushed corduroy, so tempting to touch.  I wanted to be able to vary the lighting, shine a flashlight across the hills,  play with the shadows; walking amongst the sections changes the shadows somewhat as various surfaces of the plywood are revealed or hidden. Like a feminine personification of an Earth goddess, it is all naked, lush curves.

I am envious of being able to work so big.

For many of these installations, Lin collaborated closely with scientists; truly they are art and science combined.  She has found beauty in geography, and shows us the complexity of the landscape in simple monochromatic lines, depicts our fragile world in strong materials.

Doubtless, many assistants were needed to install the largest pieces, if not use the tools to make them.  However, this exhibition shows one artist’s consistent vision.  The Corcoran’s website has a short video, showing two of the pieces being installed and indicating the vast room-filling scale.

Visit Maya Lin’s website to see more of her indoor and even larger outdoor installations.


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