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In the Midnight Garden

Jennifer Angus, In the Midnight Garden, 2015, Photo by Ron Blunt

Angus’ genius is the embrace of what is wholly natural, if unexpected. Yes, the insects are real, and no, she has not altered them in any way except to position their wings and legs. The species in this gallery are not endangered, but in fact are quite abundant, primarily in Malaysia, Thailand, and Papua New Guinea, a corner of the world where Nature seems to play with greater freedom. The pink wash is derived from the cochineal insect living on cacti in Mexico, where it has long been prized as the best source of the color red. By altering the context in which we encounter such species, Angus startles us into recognition of what has always been a part of our world.


In the Midnight Garden detail

Jennifer Angus, In the Midnight Garden detail, 2015, Photo by Ron Blunt

Angus’ genius is the embrace of what is wholly natural, if unexpected. Yes, the insects are real, and no, she has not altered them in any way except to position their wings and legs. The species in this gallery are not endangered, but in fact are quite abundant, primarily in Malaysia, Thailand, and Papua New Guinea, a corner of the world where Nature seems to play with greater freedom. The pink wash is derived from the cochineal insect living on cacti in Mexico, where it has long been prized as the best source of the color red. By altering the context in which we encounter such species, Angus startles us into recognition of what has always been a part of our world.

ANONYMOUS DONOR

Chakaia Booker, ANONYMOUS DONOR, 2015, Photo by Ron Blunt

Booker was inspired to explore tires as a material while walking the streets of New York in the 1980s, when retreads and melted pools of rubber from car fires littered the urban landscape. By massing, slashing, and reworking a material we see daily yet never fully consider, she jolts us out of complacency to grasp these materials for what they are: a natural resource marshaled through astonishingly complex channels into a product of great convenience and superabundance.

ANONYMOUS DONOR detail

Chakaia Booker, ANONYMOUS DONOR detail, 2015, Photo by Ron Blunt

Booker was inspired to explore tires as a material while walking the streets of New York in the 1980s, when retreads and melted pools of rubber from car fires littered the urban landscape. By massing, slashing, and reworking a material we see daily yet never fully consider, she jolts us out of complacency to grasp these materials for what they are: a natural resource marshaled through astonishingly complex channels into a product of great convenience and superabundance.

Plexus A1

Gabriel Dawe, Plexus A1, 2015

Dawe’s architecturally scaled weavings are often mistaken for fleeting rays of light. It is an appropriate trick of the eye, as the artist was inspired to use thread in this fashion by memories of the skies above Mexico City and East Texas, his childhood and current homes, respectively. The material and vivid colors also recall the embroideries everywhere in production during Dawe’s upbringing.

Plexus A1 installation

Gabriel Dawe, Plexus A1 installation, 2015

Dawe’s architecturally scaled weavings are often mistaken for fleeting rays of light. It is an appropriate trick of the eye, as the artist was inspired to use thread in this fashion by memories of the skies above Mexico City and East Texas, his childhood and current homes, respectively. The material and vivid colors also recall the embroideries everywhere in production during Dawe’s upbringing.

Untitled

Tara Donovan, Untitled , 2014, © Tara Donovan, courtesy of Pace Gallery

Employing mundane materials such as toothpicks, straws, Styrofoam cups, scotch tape, and index cards, Donovan gathers up the things we think we know, transforming the familiar into the unrecognizable through overwhelming accumulation. The resulting enigmatic landscapes force us to wonder just what it is we are looking at and how to respond. The mystery, and the potential for any material in her hands to capture it, prompts us to pay better attention to our surroundings, permitting the everyday to catch us up again.

Untitled detail

Tara Donovan, Untitled detail, 2014, © Tara Donovan, courtesy of Pace Gallery

Employing mundane materials such as toothpicks, straws, Styrofoam cups, scotch tape, and index cards, Donovan gathers up the things we think we know, transforming the familiar into the unrecognizable through overwhelming accumulation. The resulting enigmatic landscapes force us to wonder just what it is we are looking at and how to respond. The mystery, and the potential for any material in her hands to capture it, prompts us to pay better attention to our surroundings, permitting the everyday to catch us up again.

Shindig

Patrick Dougherty, Shindig, 2015, Photo by Ron Blunt

Dougherty has crisscrossed the world weaving sticks into marvelous architectures. Each structure is unique, an improvised response to its surroundings, as reliant on the materials at hand as the artist’s wishes: the branches tell him which way they want to bend. This give and take lends vitality to Dougherty’s work, so that walls and spires are a record of gestures and wills. Finding the right sticks remains a constant challenge, and part of the adventure of the art-making sends him scouring over the forgotten corners of land where plants grow wild and full of possibility.

Shindig installation detail

Patrick Dougherty, Shindig installation, 2015, Photo by Ron Blunt

Dougherty has crisscrossed the world weaving sticks into marvelous architectures. Each structure is unique, an improvised response to its surroundings, as reliant on the materials at hand as the artist’s wishes: the branches tell him which way they want to bend. This give and take lends vitality to Dougherty’s work, so that walls and spires are a record of gestures and wills. Finding the right sticks remains a constant challenge, and part of the adventure of the art-making sends him scouring over the forgotten corners of land where plants grow wild and full of possibility.

1.8 Renwick

Janet Echelman, 1.8 Renwick, 2015, photo by Ron Blunt

Echelman’s woven sculpture corresponds to a map of the energy released across the Pacific Ocean during the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, one of the most devastating natural disasters in recorded history. The event was so powerful it shifted the earth on its axis and shortened the day, March 11, 2011, by 1.8 millionths of a second, lending this work its title. Waves taller than the 100-foot length of this gallery ravaged the east coast of Japan, reminding us that what is wondrous can equally be dangerous.

1.8 Renwick detail

Janet Echelman, 1.8 Renwick detail, 2015, photo by Ron Blunt 

Echelman’s woven sculpture corresponds to a map of the energy released across the Pacific Ocean during the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, one of the most devastating natural disasters in recorded history. The event was so powerful it shifted the earth on its axis and shortened the day, March 11, 2011, by 1.8 millionths of a second, lending this work its title. Waves taller than the 100-foot length of this gallery ravaged the east coast of Japan, reminding us that what is wondrous can equally be dangerous.

 Middle Fork

John Grade, Middle Fork, 2015, Photo by Ron Blunt

To commemorate the Renwick’s reopening, Grade selected a hemlock tree in the Cascade Mountains east of Seattle that is approximately 150 years old–the same age as this building. His team created a full plaster cast of the tree (without harming it), then used the cast as a mold to build a new tree out of a half-million segments of reclaimed cedar. Hundreds of volunteers assisted Grade, hand carving each piece to match the contours of the original tree. After the exhibition closes, Middle Fork (Cascades) will be carried back to the hemlock’s location and left on the forest floor, where it will gradually return to the earth. Grade’s second tree, Middle Fork (Arctic), is on view downstairs in the Renwick’s Palm Court.

 Middle Fork detail

John Grade, Middle Fork detail, 2015, Photo by Ron Blunt

To commemorate the Renwick’s reopening, Grade selected a hemlock tree in the Cascade Mountains east of Seattle that is approximately 150 years old–the same age as this building. His team created a full plaster cast of the tree (without harming it), then used the cast as a mold to build a new tree out of a half-million segments of reclaimed cedar. Hundreds of volunteers assisted Grade, hand carving each piece to match the contours of the original tree. After the exhibition closes, Middle Fork (Cascades) will be carried back to the hemlock’s location and left on the forest floor, where it will gradually return to the earth. Grade’s second tree, Middle Fork (Arctic), is on view downstairs in the Renwick’s Palm Court.

Folding the Chesapeake

Maya Lin, Folding the Chesapeake, 2015

Growing up in Ohio in the 1960s, Lin watched her father participate in the fledgling studio glass movement then gathering steam in nearby Toledo. The marbles used in this installation are the same industrial fiberglass product Henry Huan Lin and other glass-blowing pioneers experimented with then, which were soon abandoned by artists as technical knowledge matured. Folding the Chesapeake marks their first use by Maya Lin and a new chapter in her decades-long investigation of natural wonders. By shaping rivers, fields, canyons, and mountains within the museum, Lin shifts our attention to their outdoor counterparts, sharpening our focus on the need for their conservation.

Folding the Chesapeake detail

Maya Lin, Folding the Chesapeake detail, 2015

Growing up in Ohio in the 1960s, Lin watched her father participate in the fledgling studio glass movement then gathering steam in nearby Toledo. The marbles used in this installation are the same industrial fiberglass product Henry Huan Lin and other glass-blowing pioneers experimented with then, which were soon abandoned by artists as technical knowledge matured. Folding the Chesapeake marks their first use by Maya Lin and a new chapter in her decades-long investigation of natural wonders. By shaping rivers, fields, canyons, and mountains within the museum, Lin shifts our attention to their outdoor counterparts, sharpening our focus on the need for their conservation.

Volume (Renwick)

Leo Villareal, Volume (Renwick), 2015, © Leo Villareal, courtesy CONNERSMITH

Only part of Villareal’s artwork is visible in the materials suspended above the staircase. This hardware serves primarily as a vehicle for the visual manifestation of code–an artist-written algorithm employing the binary system of 1s and 0s telling each LED when to turn on or off. This simple command creates lighting sequences that will never repeat exactly as before. It also changes how we think of code, from a line of characters that can be read on any screen to an object that must be witnessed in the museum.

Volume (Renwick) instillation

Leo Villareal, Volume (Renwick) instillation, 2015, © Leo Villareal, courtesy CONNERSMITH

Only part of Villareal’s artwork is visible in the materials suspended above the staircase. This hardware serves primarily as a vehicle for the visual manifestation of code–an artist-written algorithm employing the binary system of 1s and 0s telling each LED when to turn on or off. This simple command creates lighting sequences that will never repeat exactly as before. It also changes how we think of code, from a line of characters that can be read on any screen to an object that must be witnessed in the museum.

In the Midnight Garden
In the Midnight Garden detail
ANONYMOUS DONOR
ANONYMOUS DONOR detail
Plexus A1
Plexus A1 installation
Untitled
Untitled detail
Shindig
Shindig installation detail
1.8 Renwick
1.8 Renwick detail
 Middle Fork
 Middle Fork detail
Folding the Chesapeake
Folding the Chesapeake detail
Volume (Renwick)
Volume (Renwick) instillation