Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Look Closer

  We spent the weekend in Boston with our new and only grandson. As much as I'd like to spend my time here pontificating on his wonders, I'd like to get back to our discussion on learning from all kinds of art.
We got to see Tara Donovan's incredible exhibition at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art.  The show, entitled "Look Closer" was a beautiful, undulating of translucent ceilings, walls and floors. When you "looked closer" you saw that the ceiling was a cloud of Styrofoam cups. Turning the corner there was a wall that was ten feet long and eight feet high and was created with drinking straws which were just stacked there--no glue. The floors were, in one case, wisps of Scotch tape that looked like valley fog, and, in the other, stacks of translucent drinking cups--and ethereal landscape. 
Donvan's 3 foot square blocks of toothpicks or dress maker pins were familiar to me. She had packed them in a box, removed the boxes' sides and they magically held the shape of the box. There was also a 3 foot cube made of safety glass. 144 sheet of glass were stacked up and then Donovan began tapping the corners with a hammer. The sheets began to fracture into tiny pieces--but the cube retained it's shape. 
These were 'on site' creations once there were gone--or fell--they would never be built the same again. Yes, they were literally and figuratively enthral
What problem did the artist set up for herself, as Marilyn Hughey Phyllis would ask? She wanted to use common, disposable objects to make incredible art. Did she succeed? You bet! How can I use her solutions in my own art? There isn't an easy answer for this one. I am a 2D artist through and through. Could I use common objects to print patterns on my paintings? Styrofoam cups, rubber bands, piles of toothpicks wet with paint? 
The intensity and consistency that she approaches this mystical feeling in her art is something that I need to explore. What feelings do I need to get into paintings? Can I become consistent enough to delve deeply into them?
Check out her work through the link to the right. You won't be disappointed.

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