Archive for May 23rd, 2011

May 23, 2011

Art/Weaving/Basketry

Community is the fabric of our lives, weaving individual strands into a larger, stronger, unified existence.  The following are various sites, articles and media resources that deal with art, weaving and baskets. I know I got carried away with this post but please feel free to add to our collection of resources.

Aly  De Groot

Melissa Hirsch at the Cape Gallery

Floating Life: Contemporary Aboriginal Fibre Art at GOMA Sept, 2009.

On weaving

Judy Baypungala Circular mat 2004Judy Baypungala | Wurlaki people NT b.1941 | Circular mat 2004 | Twined pandanus palm leaf with natural dyes | 307cm (diam.) | Purchased 2005. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation Grant | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | © Judy Baypungala 2004. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney, 2009

In her book On Weaving, the great modernist Anni Albers states:

One of the most ancient of crafts, hand weaving is a method of forming a pliable plane of threads by interlacing them rectangularly. Invented in a preceramic age, it has remained essentially unchanged to this day.5

She describes the single-element methods of looping and netting, and multiple-element techniques — knotting, coiling, twining, braiding — as achieving a similar result without a loom. This range of processes, commonly used by Aboriginal weavers, allows for maximum invention and creativity for artisans who have so much to express and communicate through their work. Fewer tools are needed than for loom weaving, and works in progress are more portable and easily moved between home and bush sites where natural materials are plentiful.

A variety of materials and methods was customarily used. Makers in Queensland might use two stakes in the ground to support and tension their string bags, whereas across the north of Australia a convenient knee or toe does the job. In remote areas, leaves, barks and grasses are on hand to tie, bind, wrap or thatch; bark fibres are rolled into string on the thigh, with delicate feathers introduced in a seamless backward plying motion. A traditional method for making tough ropes involves three participants turning and twisting bark fibres suspended over a low-hanging tree branch. Seasonal ‘nets’ were rolled from river spinifex in the Kimberley to trap barramundi, whereas in the Northern Territory the prized fish are funnelled into sturdy conical traps twined from jungle vines, set in watercourses dammed with sticks, paperbark and grasses. A group of these unadorned traps is included in ‘Floating Life’, contrasting with coloured pandanus sculptural versions showing subtle differences in shape, tone and texture.

While continuing to build on traditional forms, Aboriginal fibre artists are taking their work in exciting directions through introducing new materials and methods. In a recent invention, simple cane frames formerly used to support looped and knotted fishing scoops have been extended by Anniebell Marrngamarrnga into a gloriously complex system onto which she builds impressive rolled pandanus string figures such as Yawkyawk spirit (Pregnant with twins) 2007. In an even more radical departure from the traditional, Lorraine Connelly-Northey mines rubbish dumps to assemble the rusty discards of industry into elegant forms inspired by classic Aboriginal string bags, randomly inserting delicate feathers and echidna quills to jolt our realisation of her personal cultural losses…

http://qag.qld.gov.au/exhibitions/past/recently_archived/floating_life/curators_essay/on_weaving

Chiharu Shiota

Hurst & Griffiths dance inspired by Chiharu Shiota

 Shona Tawhiao

Twisted paper weaving  Daryl Dancer-Wade

Johanna Nousiainen

Lisa Telford

Lindsey Joy

Lenore G. Tawney

Coiled basketry Kantjupayi Benson

Coiled basketry Yvonne Koolmatrie

Jane Sauer Gallery present Basketry In Perspective April 24 – May 28, 2009.

Donna Anderson

Kate Anderson

Nancy Moore Bess

Jerry Bleem staple and paper baskets

Danielle Bodine

Joan Brink

Jane Chavez horse hair baskets

Carol Eckert

Katherine Glover

Geoffrey Gorman

Jan Hopkins

Lisa Hunter

Stephen Johnson

Kay Khan

Ron King

Nancy Koenigsberg

Jill Norfors Clark

Hisako Sekijima

Polly Adams

Dawn Walden

Kazuko Yamanaka


KAY SEKIMACHI

Lindsay K Rais

Ferne Jacobs

Dorothy Gill Barnes

John Garrett

Mary Gilles

Elizabeth Whyte Schulze

Joh Ricci

Don Weeke

Dail Behennah

Lanny Bergner

Mary Holiday Black

Charissa Brock

Lillian Elliott

Noboru Fujinuma

Shokosai Hayakawa

Marion Hildebrandt

Elsie Holiday

Hideaki Honma

Nagakura Kenichi

Yako Hodo

Torii Ippo

Debra Sachs

Online basketry exhibition site

http://basketmakers.com/topics/wheretosee/wtsonlinexhibindex.htm

Yamaguchi Ryuun

Morigami Jin

Kiyoma Iwata

Gyöngy Laky

Andy Goldsworthy

Norma Minkowitz

Fran Reed’s fish skin baskets

Ed Rossbach

JoAnne Russo

Leon Niehues

John McQueen

Naoko Serino

Maseo Ueno

Nadine Spier

Carol Shaw-Sutton

Live Debris

International Festival of Creative Reuse Brazil,Lebanon, USA  Trash Weaving


Weaving Van Gogh series by Dagmar Dahle


Machiko Agano

Techy Masero

Pat Hickman

Burgaw Elementary Hosts Arts in Education Residency

Sculpture Residency Used Recycled Items

BES Student weaving
Burgaw Elementary students weave an outdoor sculpture.

Therese Fisher

Woven glass by  Markow & Norris

Hair weaving by Imhathai Suwatthanasilp

Weaving Granite by Jesus Moroles


Magdalena Abakanowicz


Weather Map Baskets by NATHALIE MIEBACH


Interview with Nathalie Miebach, June 2008, Polar Ideas

How do you translate scientific data into beads, reeds, thread and other media?There are really two parts to my process: data collecting and the visual translation of data. The first part, data collecting, takes place in various forms. If I am looking at a specific environment close by, I build very low-tech data-collecting devices that I bring to a particular place on a daily basis. I record both the numbers the devices are measuring as well as everything else that is happening all around me. My own observations and recordings are then compared to sites on the Internet that record similar data nearby. For example, if I am recording weather data, I will always compare what I have recorded that day with what a nearby weather station has recorded, as well as look at weather satellite imagery of that day to place my observations in a more global context. If I am looking at an environment that is too far away or too impossible for me to get to, such as Antarctica, I turn to the Internet and use data from various research stations, university or governmental agencies. As a rule, I always double and triple check data I use from the Internet, even if it is from reputable sites, because there is unfortunately a lot of junk on the Web.

I much prefer doing my own observations because the key to understanding dynamic, complex relationships between different systems within an environment is actually in what you observe peripherally. It is what I observe all around me (the cloud cover, bird behavior, water current, the way the ground feels, the way the air smells, etc.) while I wait for my instruments to record data that helps me see the behavioral complexity of hundreds even thousands of systems that make up weather. I keep describing this as a type of visual ‘listening’ with my peripheral vision, though I am still learning what that actually means.

After I have a good chunk of data recorded, I become a sort of detective in that I look for patterns, inconsistencies, cause-and-effect type behaviors that suggest linkages between certain variables. With a huge cup of coffee and some Steve Reich playing through my headphones, I stare at these stacks of graphs, numbers and diagrams to find something worth investigating further. What I begin to translate depends partially on the format of the data. For example, data that are presented in the form of maps are the worst, because for me to get to the actual value of a piece of information, I have to decode it and extract it from the map itself.

It’s like I am peeling away the visual in order to see the number so I can retranslate it into something visual. Much too complicated! The more numerical and drier it looks, the better. Numbers function a bit like Lego pieces in that I assign each value a physicality that gets integrated into the basket. I never change the value of the numbers to conform to some sort of aesthetic preference. This allows the sculptures to exist as sculptures in space but also as actual devices that could be used to read data from a specific environment.

From the many variables I have collected, I will choose two or three to begin the initial translation process. The basket is my method of translation because it provides me with a simple yet effective 3D grid through which to translate data with. The sculpture is a collaboration between the material, the numbers and myself. The material I use to translate is reed, which has an inherent tension that does not allow me to completely control it. If I push it too hard, it will simply break. The changing nature of the numbers over time as well as the inherent tension of the reed are what create the shape of the basket. I try to let the changing tension of the reed dictate the shape; only in certain instances do I step in and exert pressure when I sense the piece falling physically apart. I never know what the shape will be beforehand, which often leaves me scratching my head — some shapes are easier to work with than others.

Once the basket sculpture is done, I have a temporal landscape on which I can plot more data on top that is related to the initial relationship I was looking at. In some ways, this is when I start to ‘visually listen’ again, for how and what I will translate further on this shape will depend on what conceptual aspect I want to further explore as well as how it will aesthetically fit together. Colors and shapes are assigned to various variables (red for temperature, blue beads for wind strength, etc.), with legends next to the sculpture letting the viewer know what each of them means. These choices are directed through a combination of referencing commonly associated shapes or colors with certain variables (for example, temperature is almost always either red or blue), as well as the availability of materials I happen to have in the studio.

On a surface level, my current work is about translating science data related to weather or polar regions undergoing drastic changes due to climate change. But on a deeper level, this work is also about thinking. Assigning colors and shapes to certain variables is very much like assigning a concept to a particular word. Like an anthropological linguist, I try to create my own sense of meaning through these colors and shapes that articulate the nuances, patterns and inconsistencies I see as developing a visual language that enables me to articulate relationships I see or sense within the environment I am observing.

Is data collection part of your artistic process?
Yes. It is as important as the visual translation process of these numbers into sculptures.

barometric-pressure1

What compels you to respond to and interpret the environment?
To experience an ocean wave by putting your feet in the water, hearing its roar, watching a white foam crest and fall over on top of the wave and clashing with the previous wave’s retreat, tasting the salt in the air and feeling your feet being sucked into the ocean and toward the sea as the wave recedes, is an entirely different way of understanding wave dynamics than reading it from a book on oceanography. It is the experience of it that sinks deeper into your mind than a paragraph willever do. Experience is a way of recognizing, registering and sensing beauty.

Left: Barometric Pressure: Herring Cove, Cape Cod
Reed, wood, data, 36”x36”x36’, 2008, This piece looks at the relationship between barometric pressure, cloud cover, soil temperature readings and bird sightings during a 30-day period on Herring Cove Beach, Cape Cod.

The only way for me to physically and intuitively understand weather is to spend time in an environment and record it. However, it isn’t just a process of recording numbers, for I could get those from the Internet with much less hassle. It has to do with actually trying to understand an environment as an interconnected ecosystem in which thousands of variables interact with one another. For me that has meant spending many hours observing and just being outside to learn and try to understand what I am looking at through experience. That’s not always easy to do, particularly when it’s pouring outside and I am drenched to the bone trying to write down what I see with my half-frozen hand. But if I didn’t do that, I know I would never get a glimpse at those interconnections within an environment and thus never really come to a deeper understanding of what weather actually is and means in an environment

But experience itself is only the beginning. Science is a wonderful lens through which to probe deeper into those observations of the natural world. I disagree with Walt Whitman’s famous poem When I Heard the Learned Astronomer because numbers and figures DO provide a window into an invisible structure or system that builds the scaffolding of what I’m looking at. If nothing else, science is a useful lens through which to gawk at beauty within the company of doubt and reason.

wind-anemometer

What other media did you consider before deciding on weaving?
I began translating science data through basket weaving long before I got into weather. This juncture happened somewhat serendipitously in 2000 or so, when I took a class at Harvard Extension School in astronomy, which coincided with a class in basket weaving I took at Cambridge Adult Education. The frustrating part about astronomy to me was that I never seemed to be able to get a real sense of the time and space dimension we talked about in class because everything we ever looked at was on the two-dimensional plane of the projector wall. At some point the light bulb went off in my head that I could actually use basket weaving as a three-dimensional grid through which to translate astronomical data with to get a better sense of what I was learning about astronomy. About two years ago, I began to focus on weather through a collaboration with the Wright Center for Science Education, which was piloting a project on climate data collecting.

Right: Wind Anemometer: Herring Cove, Cape Cod, Reed, wood, PVC, data, 68”x40”x37”, 2008, This sculpture functions as both an anemometer to be used on the beach to measure wind, as well as a sculpture on which my own collected data is recorded. Looking purely at the effects of wind in a specific location on Cape Cod (Herring Cove Beach), I translate data of living systems or other weather indicators that are affected by the wind.

Right now the possibilities weaving provide in 3D translations of data seem limitless to me. However, I am always conscious of not wanting to fall into a type of translation that feels too predictable or comfortable. I am therefore always trying to find new visual ways to translate the information, be that in 2D and 3D. I am constantly building things out of coffee stirrers, cardboard, packing peanuts or whatever I have lying around to keep my mind and the translation process fresh. Many of these failed attempts do end up in the final work.

I have one rule I try to adhere to with every piece, which is to incorporate at least one element I feel unsure about. It’s a way of keeping the work, the question and my process at the edge of comfort/discomfort, which is where I believe new discoveries are born.

Where does the art begin and the science end?

I think when one is genuinely curious about something, the categorizing by disciplines become irrelevant. I don’t think of either art or science when I am in the studio — I think of weather, of behaviors, of trying to visualize that which I cannot see but not whether what I do is art or science. While it is easier for me to define and perhaps thus distinguish the boundaries of what is and isn’t science, the parameters of art are much more fluid, open and up for debate. Does the practice of one necessarily exclude the practice of the other? I suppose the distinction between these two fields becomes particularly tricky when I come across persons, particularly scientists, who have never lifted a brush in their life but whose approach to thinking about a particular problem feels very akin to those of an artist. What is that particular quality that makes it so? I’m not entirely sure myself, but I do think that a healthy respect for intuition, contradiction, nuance, reason as well as a knack for being able to disregard the very parameters of mental thought any discipline imposes on itself, are all in there. Rooted in that perspective is a firm belief that art is fundamentally a language of thought before it is one of visual means. It is also where I think the still unexplored and huge potential for art lies — in that recognition and exploration of art as a mediator between thinking and the visualization of that thinking.

And yet I can’t deny that some of the very conceptual boundaries that define art and science are what attract me to them. A question articulated through science begins with a very different premise confined by its own language, expectations and rules than if I address that same question within the context of art. What I love and deeply respect about science is that its very premise, its very raison d’etre, rests on doubt. solar-beginningsArt is an enormously versatile language through which to express nuances, contradictions and peripheral specificity, even absurdity — all through the logic of visual means. In that sense, both disciplines provide the perfect ingredients to dig deeper into any question. Like an opportunistic leech, I take from both disciplines what I deem as essential in helping me explore what I am curious about.

Left: Solar Beginnings of Everything that Changes, Reed, wood, data, 56”x66”x27”, 2008, Private Collection. Without the sun, there would be no weather. Without weather and its daily changes, there would be no life on Earth the way we know it. Somehow within this daily search for equilibrium in the atmosphere and in the water, every life form find its own niche to survive. For the past 6 months I have gone to Herring Cove nearly everyday to observe how this specific coastal environment adjusts to daily variations in weather. This piece looks at these changes, all of which find their ultimate origin in the sun. Data translated includes: air & water temperature, barometric pressure, tides, solar azimuth and moon phases. Time frame is Oct. 07–Mar. 08.

What do these sculptural forms reveal about the science?
To me they reveal less about science but provide a window into human thought and the way one constructs meaning and understanding about something. What I do visually in my work is what every person does every day — I just happen to give it a visual form. Every person is confronted with situations where one only has bits and pieces of incomplete information. However, our brains are wired in ways that allow us to fill in missing gaps by either drawing analogies to what we already know or using simple Sherlock Holmesean deduction to come up with some answer that appears both logical and reasonable to the individual. Now my answer and your answer might be completely and widely different. And your answer may be as illogical to me as a doorknob on a wheel axle, but it’s completely logical to you. But that’s the beauty of human thought — this illogical logic that leads to a form of reason.

What do you learn from your sculpture?
As an artist, it is often the moments of despair, of being stuck, of building something that takes hours to make just to see it crumble into pieces when I realize that making art is really not about making anything. It is about having a conversation with yourself, the medium and the questions you are addressing through your work. It is about learning how to listen to this trio of partners and treating it like a collaboration all the way through. This is not always easy, because my vision of what I want to do often gets redirected into unexpected paths and territories that require me to learn new things, work with materials I have never used before, ponder questions about things I never even knew existed. It requires me to trust my sense of curiosity to lead me toward the next question and to trust the material to lead me into new ways of articulating those questions. My work reminds me daily that curiosity, wonder, risk-taking and doubt are my most important, most trusted partners in the studio. If I start making work that doesn’t feel like it’s teetering off the edge of some great abyss, then the conversation between the sculptures and myself has stopped. The unknown is neither comfortable nor predictable, but that is part of the pleasure of finding things out.

I rarely walk away with any concrete answers from my work. In fact, I am often more puzzled after I have made a sculpture than before. Ironically, for me that is always a sign that the piece is a success. Sometimes asking a question is not really about finding an answer, but about delving deeper into the mystery and basking in its beauty.

temporal-warmth

What other types of art do you make?
I feel like I have found a tiny universe in the visual translation of scientific data through weaving that I could dwell in for three lifetimes. Right now, I am happily playing in my little puddle, making sculptures and installations. I have noticed of late that my work seems to drift into music and theater again. During my residency at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, I build an orchestra of sculptures and wall pieces, which allowed me to address the learning process about weather and what it means in an urban environment much more idiosyncratically.

Right: Temporal Warmth: Tango Between Air, Land and Sea, Reed, wood, data, 36”x38”x32”, 2008, Private Collection. Everyday that I go to the beach, I take the temperature of the air, land and sea. This somewhat mundane activity of sticking the thermometer into the sand, water or air, soon became a type of game in which I would try to guess which of these variables would be the warmest. All three have varying efficiencies in storing heat, which articulate themselves over time. This daily dance of temperature became for me the invisible pulse of the place from which to gauge the changes I noticed in the flora and fauna.

My secret other love is theater, which is what I did before I went into visual arts. Like an ex-lover you can’t quite forget, it nags at me from time to time. The stage is one of those venues where I think mysteries and the beauty of unanswered questions can be expressed in both the privacy of the viewer and within the public sphere of an audience. That moment of being on stage after a performance, after everyone has gone, is one of those extreme points of beauty and mystery, of not being able to see, yet sensing something still so tangible, that I wish I could somehow express through my sculptures.

eastern-maine-shelf-buoy jordan-basin-buoy cobscook-bay-buoy

In late summer, Right Whales are often found in large numbers at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. In this piece, which consists of three sculptures, I am translating various ocean and air data to help me understand what ecological conditions exists to entice these whales to congregate in such large numbers in this particular area. Each sculpture translates ocean and air data specific to the topographical location of the buoy in the Gulf of Maine. All buoys for this project are of the Gulf of Maine Observation System (GOMOOS). Local buoy data is also compared to larger, historical climate/weather data sets.

Above Left: Eastern Maine Shelf Buoy, Reed, data, wood, plastic, plaster, 2’x2’x4’, 2008, Private Collection
Above Middle: Jordan Basin Buoy, Reed, data, wood, plastic, plaster, 2’x2’x5’, 2008, Private Collection
Above Right: Cobscook Bay Buoy, Reed, data, wood, plastic, plaster, 2’x2’x7’, 2008, Private Collection

Artist Statement
My work focuses on the intersection of art and science and the visual articulation of scientific observations or theories. Using the methodologies and processes of both disciplines, I translate scientific data related to physics, astronomy, oceanography and/or climate change into three-dimensional structures. My method of translation is principally that of weaving – in particular basket weaving – as it provides me with a simple yet highly effective grid through which to interpret data in three-dimensional space. The data I use is a combination of my own, which I gather on a daily basis using low-tech data-collecting devices that extract weather data from a specific environment, as well as regional or global data from the internet. By staying true to the numbers, these woven pieces tread an uneasy divide between functioning both as sculptures in space as well as navigational instruments that could be used in the actual environment from which the data originates.

Central to this work is my desire to explore the role visual aesthetics play in translation of science information. By utilizing artistic processes and everyday materials, I am questioning and expanding boundaries through which science data has been traditionally visually translated (ex: graphs, diagrams), while at the same time provoking expectations of what kind of visual vocabulary is considered to be in the domain of ‘science’ or ‘art’.

For the past 2 years, my work I have been working on a project called “Recording and Translating Climate Change on Cape Cod”, which focuses on collecting weather data from a specific place, Herring Cove Beach, over a 14 month long period. The data is collected from the water, air and the coastal environment. These numbers, combined with my own daily observations, led to the series of sculptures I have send you images of. All of these pieces look at the complexity of interactions and relationships between air, land and water that make up weather. The purpose of this work is to gain a better understanding of weather and ultimately what it means to live in an age of human-induced climate change.

Woven fabric depicts pixelized map by artist Irene Dubrovsky

The Longaberger Co. headquarter building

Pilgrim School Students Weaving Projects

WANG LEI’s woven pages

Woven paper sculpture by Li Hongbo

Megan Geckler

Tomas Saraceno

Patrick Dougherty

Woven fiberoptic cable by designer Astrid Krogh

Woven Room at Open Space Victoria, British Columbia

Brenda Christine St. Pierre (Victoria), Jason Hunt (Victoria)

Woven Room, an installation by Brenda Christine St. Pierre and Jason Hunt. Woven Room is part of the Healing and Transforming in a Contemporary World: Aboriginal Underground Art Crawl at Open Space in Victoria B.C.

Brenda Christine St. Pierre employs traditional Native weaving both as a practice and symbolic gesture that connects her to her Cree-Sarcee-Metis heritage. Jason Hunt incorporates the carving style of the Kwakwaka ‘waku Nation, as taught to him by his father, Stan Hunt.

With Woven Room, large woven panels are assembled with mixed media (both from the natural and
industrial worlds) and embedded into the walls of Open Space’s resource center. This three dimensional
piece transforms a portion of the gallery space into a site of cross cultural dialogue. Woven Room blurs
misguided binaries that exist between the “traditional” and the “modern”, between catagorical definitions
of “art” and “craft”. St. Pierre and Hunt’s piece builds this tension in their strategic use of materials and
juxtaposition.
Woven Room is additionally inscribed with that of the “personal” marked by historical narratives and
past relationships. St. Pierre’s weaving suggest histories that both intersect harmoniously and those that
potentially constitute (past) conflict. Incorporating cloth (cut pieces) from a Hudson Bay Company blanket
for example recalls the tensions of initial encounters between First Nations communities and European
based trading companies. On another level, St. Pierre’s piece signifies a home, one she may long for on a
personal level and one that signifies an exchange between First and Fourth worlds. In St. Pierre’s words, “I
am a woman of two worlds, and two families. I attempt . . . to weave pathways ‘to and fro’, searching for
that something new.”

The basket weave in arcitecture

Spanish Pavilion for 2010 Expo in Shanghai, designed by Miralles Tagliabue

Spain’s pavilion shows off the country’s rich basket-weaving architecture culture.

Bing Thom Arena

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Construction within the Fichandler Stage | February 2010

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Basket weave detail of the Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle walls | February 2010

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Construction within the Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle | February 2010

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Parallam wood columns

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basket weave in the garden

a garden shed that is also garden sculpture
garden sculpture becomes a shed
This is the garden shed belonging to a private residence in Edinburgh. The functional domain of the garden has become a garden sculpture, designed  by Water Gems who are landscape water specialists. They won the 2009 British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI) Grand Award for this design.
Metal weaving garden sculpture

Steel eding of the garden shed

Metal Weave garden beds

100 Acres: Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park at Indianapolis Museum of Art

June 21, 2010 by All Art News

INDIANAPOLIS, IN.- The Indianapolis Museum of Art opened 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park on June 20, 2010, with a public grand opening celebration including tours, live music, art-making workshops and a Summer Solstice program. Located on 100 acres of land that includes untamed woodlands, wetlands, a lake and meadows adjacent to the Museum, it is one of the largest museum art parks in the country and the only one to feature the ongoing commission of temporary, site-responsive artworks. The Park opened with eight newly commissioned inaugural works by international artists, a LEED-certified visitor center and numerous walking trails that highlight the indigenous landscape. As with the IMA galleries, admission to the Park is free.

In 2008, the IMA announced the eight inaugural commissions for the Park. Kendall Buster, Los Carpinteros, Jeppe Hein, Alfredo Jaar, Tea Mäkipää, Type A, Atelier Van Lieshout and Andrea Zittel have spent several years working closely with the IMA to develop projects that explore and respond to the varied environments of 100 Acres. The IMA’s goal is to present contemporary art projects and exhibitions that provoke a reexamination of humanity’s multifaceted relationship with the environment.

“Each of the artists commissioned to create works for 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park will present a new and invigorating perspective on the interaction between art and the natural environment,” said Maxwell L. Anderson, The Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO of the IMA. “They have conceived their projects with great sensitivity to this particular site, while also engaging in broad global questions about the relationship among art, nature and culture. It is tremendously exciting that 100 Acres positions the IMA as a leader in how museums can champion both contemporary artists and the environment.”

A worker walks through Free Basket an installation in the Indianapolis Museum of Arts 100 Acres 580x388 100 Acres: Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park at Indianapolis Museum of Art A worker walks through “Free Basket”, an installation in the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s 100 Acres: The Virgina B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park in Indianapolis. The park opened to the public June 20, 2010, on 100 acres that includes woodlands, wetlands, meadows and a 35-acre lake and will be one of the largest museum art parks in the country. AP Photo/Michael Conroy

The Park is bordered by the White River and runs contiguous to the IMA’s 52-acre campus, more than half of which is composed of historic landscapes and gardens. Commissions for the Park will be ongoing, with additional artists’ projects announced annually. The evolving aesthetic landscape will be characterized by continual renewal just like the natural landscape. Formerly a gravel pit and construction area, the Park has transformed from a disturbed site into a lush and wild natural terrain. The IMA has engaged architect Marlon Blackwell and landscape architect Edward L. Blake to develop a LEED-certified visitors pavilion and related walking trails throughout the site that emphasize native plantings.

“100 Acres offers a new model for sculpture parks in the 21st century,” said Lisa Freiman, Chair of the IMA’s Department of Contemporary Art and Director of 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park. “Unlike most sculpture parks, which emphasize canonical artists and place their works permanently in a fixed environment, 100 Acres will feature ongoing, temporary commissions, often supporting artists who have not yet had the opportunity to work on a grand public scale. We’re promoting vital, open experimentation and providing a platform for international artists to challenge themselves as well as our community by broadening current expectations around contemporary art.”

Concepts for the eight inaugural installations include:

• Kendall Buster: Kendall Buster has created a pier overlooking the Park’s 35-acre lake. A path leads from the peninsula meadow through the brush to a series of raised platforms overlooking the lake. The design of the platform suggests a topographical map with stacked layers, behaving like a kind of “extrusion” from the shoreline. The use of terracing and curved edges reference erosion and layered growth. Stratum Pier reflects Buster’s interest in the merging of the natural and the built environment.

• Los Carpinteros: The artist collective has developed a large-scale installation titled Free Basket that continues their interest in the juxtaposition of the practical and the imaginary. In developing their project, Los Carpinteros chose to draw on the thriving sports culture in the city of Indianapolis. Free Basket realizes their vision of an international basketball court, transforming it into an aesthetically surprising sculpture that also offers a site for the community to engage in recreational play. Their project seeks to bring together art, culture and sports, providing an interactive platform for the larger community that engages them in art.

• Jeppe Hein: Jeppe Hein’s work for 100 Acres, titled Bench Around the Lake, is a series of 15 vivid-yellow benches that Hein envisions as one long, serpentine bench surfacing and receding in several locations around the Park’s 35-acre lake. Hein worked with IMA horticulturists and Indianapolis-based landscape architect Eric Fulford to select locations for the benches to interact with specific natural features in the Park. Improvising on the design of a basic park bench, the unconventional forms of Bench Around the Lake provide visitors with opportunities to sit, look, listen, wonder and play in the unique setting. Hein’s installation Distance, a dynamic indoor rollercoaster track for a series of white plastic balls, will be exhibited in the IMA’s Forefront Galleries and is conceived as a counterpart to his installation in 100 Acres.

• Alfredo Jaar: Known for his thought-provoking series of Public Interventions that he has staged across the world, Alfredo Jaar has created a poetic new project, Park of the Laments, nestled in the woodland area southeast of the lake in 100 Acres. The form of Jaar’s park is a square within a square, an outside perimeter made of gabion baskets filled with limestone and an interior square made of indigenous trees and shrubs. Visitors will approach the park and descend into a dark, underground tunnel. Moving toward the light at the end, viewers will find stairs that will lead them above ground into the center of the park. Natural, minimalist wooden benches will be placed around the perimeter of the amphitheater of plants, allowing visitors to sit quietly and meditate within the park, formed of a grass floor, tree walls and a ceiling defined by the sky. Jaar describes the park as a refuge, a silent, meditative place where visitors can lament and purge the global atrocities of the 20th and 21st centuries. Park of the Laments is Jaar’s largest permanent Public Intervention in the U.S.

• Tea Mäkipää: Mäkipää has created a sculptural profile of a large, dark ship that emerges from the lake in 100 Acres with the ship’s name, Eden II, painted on each side. An unexpected sight in the idyllic natural environment of the Park, the ship is a modern-day ark seemingly filled with human passengers from an unknown homeland. A guard house on the shore nearby will allow visitors to experience views and sounds of the ship’s imaginary passengers, conceived as refugees displaced by the ecological impact of climate change. Eden II will function as an anomalous and thought-provoking vision in the Park, a curious and forewarning presence that brings the crises of the wider world to Indianapolis.

• Type A: This two-man collaborative created the sculptural installation Team Building (Align), which consists of two 30-foot-wide metal rings suspended from telephone poles and trees, and oriented so that their two shadows will become one during the annual Summer Solstice. The designated time of alignment as well as the size of the rings was determined by a team of interdepartmental IMA staff members who worked with the artists over a two-year period on a real-time experiential education performance. From philosophical conversations about art to physically rigorous challenge courses, Type A and the IMA team collaborated to develop a sculptural form that could metaphorically convey the spirit and complexity of their shared collaboration. The project also generated photographs, blogs and videos, which can be seen on the IMA Web site.

• Atelier Van Lieshout: Joep Van Lieshout, with his studio Atelier Van Lieshout, created Funky Bones, a group of 20 giant, bone-shaped benches that together form the shape of an enormous, stylized human skeleton. The project grows out of Van Lieshout’s interest in pre-history and relics, with bones emerging from the ground like archeologically revealed specimens, symbolizing artifacts and remains from previous occupants. The artist, who encountered visitors sitting on rocks and other natural perches on his visit to Indianapolis, wanted to create benches as sites for resting, climbing and social interaction in the Park. A fantastical apparition, Funky Bones is located at the edge of the Park’s central meadow.

• Andrea Zittel: Zittel created a floating island, titled Indianapolis Island, installed in the 35-acre lake, a dominant feature of the Park’s landscape. About 20 feet in diameter, the island is fully inhabitable and serves as an experimental living structure that examines the daily needs of contemporary human beings. Beginning June 20, the island will be occupied by students from Herron School of Art & Design in Indianapolis. Michael Runge and Jessica Dunn will live on Indianapolis Island, collaborating with Zittel by adapting and modifying the island’s structure according to their needs. They will be outfitted with a row boat and will have access to a handheld PDA that enables them to share pictures, author a blog and Twitter account about their island experience. The Park residents will interact with visitors and present programs throughout the summer, sharing information about the living art experiment and the Park itself. The project blends elements of environmental art, sculpture, design and performance in a unique way, offering a challenging and experimental forum for exploring ideas about individualism and self-sufficiency, which have long-standing connections to the history of modernism.


Saatchi Online Land Water Vessel by Chris Drury

Kanawinka Global Geopark Gareth Colliton Slide Night Presentation

Artist Gareth Colliton is to present a slide night at the Warrnambool Art Gallery on the relationships woven between geology, culture and people of geopark communities in China, Malaysia and Australia.

Ephemeral sculpture installation along Lushan Forest Art Trail, China

As a representative of  Creative Kanawinka on a cultural exchange in 2010 Gareth visited Mt Lushan Geopark in China and Langkawi Geopark in Malaysia.

Big Bambú, by Mike + Doug Starn

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Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition page:

Visitors are able to experience Big Bambú from the Roof Garden level, open to everyone during regular Museum hours, weather permitting, and to walk among a forest of bamboo poles that serves as the base of the sculpture. Alternatively, visitors are able to explore the artwork on brief tours led by Museum-trained guides. On the guided tours, held during regular Museum hours, weather permitting, small groups of visitors are able to walk along the elevated interior network of pathways roughly 20 to 40 feet above the Roof Garden. Tickets are required for the guided tours, and specific guidelines apply to those interested in participating.

Nicolas Feldmeyer, Untitled (Woven Portico) 2011

Artist Julia Sherman and her public weaving performances.

Cone of PowerBackstrap looms are portable looms used in Mexico and Central America. The loom is attached to a stable structure, and the weaver’s body weight is used to create tension in the warp. One can weave virtually anywhere. For this piece, the collaborative woven sculpture is constructed over the course of eight hours of uninterrupted weaving in the gallery. The looms hook onto a center rope suspended from the ceiling, and the counter-balance of the opposing bodies holds the structure together. The weavers pass their yarn around in a circle, weaving upwards, and connecting their looms to one another simultaneously. The resulting shelter remains in the space as an installation.

The making of “Cone of Power”

The making of “Cone of Power”

performance of Cone of Power

performance of Cone of Power

A Room A Loom“A Room-A Loom” spans the space of the gallery, creating an environmental loom. The loom itself is really simple and anyone can be taught to to use it in about 5-minutes. People are invited to gather together the material of their choice and to contribute to the collaborative textile. The project began at Workspace in North East Los Angeles, and was recreated at artist-run spaces all over the country. Materials used thus far have included weeds, old clothing, Halloween costumes, computer cables, bubble wrap, plastic bags, John Baldessari’s toilet-paper, Sheep Dog fur, raw wool, yarn, pants, jeans, blankets, burlap sacks, palm fronds, pom-poms and more. This project has been re-created at Copy Gallery in Philadelphia, PA, SEA Change Gallery in Portland, Cairo in Seattle, Goonies in Vancouver and Swimming Pool in Chicago.

“A Room-A Loom” at Workspace 2601 Los Angeles
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