Below some early images of the installation process and of the finished installation. See previous post for the text of Miriam Sagan’s poem which is incised on the steel plates seen on the floor.
September 15, 2011
These images are of two recent installations of mine created for a solo show in Burlington Vermont that was in place January and February of 2011. Ken Burris did a terrific job of photographing these two room size installations.
The black crocheted piece is called “Surface Tension” and is made of over 20,000 ft of hand crocheted black rope. The conical forms are supported via a counterweight system, crocheted sacks loaded with river stones. The room in which this piece is sited is approximately 26′ X 36′ X 10′ .
The Bamboo and reflective tape artwork is titled “Points of View”. Blue reflective tape was mounted at level on a scaffold of bamboo tetrahedrons. This work alludes to the way water finds its own level and to our human tendency to impose order on a landscape. Visitors to this installation were given headlamps with which to view the work.
January 11, 2011
I’m done! Just finished up yesterday afternoon. We added reflective tape to posts and trees in city hall park, extending the “shimmering blue waterline” in my installation “Points of View” out into the great landscape beyond the gallery walls. The lighting and final labeling of the show will be completed by the Gallery staff this week. Keep in mind that the photos posted here are quick shots taken by me at the end of a long day without finished lighting. I include below the content of a review of my work written by my friend Andy Sichel, artist and a former professor of art at Rutger’s University.He very generously surprised me with this a couple of days ago, sending his remarks out via e-mail to his community.
I have watched my brilliant friend Alisa’s work as a sculptor and draftswoman evolve and mature over more than a decade now and I wanted to share this with you all.
Her work is informed by her feminist consciousness, her “day jobs” as a Yale trained architect, teacher at Norwich University (VT) and as the mother of two quickly growing children.
Alisa’s work melds a thorough and considered understanding of art history with the tenacity of sticking with an initially wise and equally considered choice of “art parents” whom I see as extending from Shamanism through the Artisanal and site specific works of the middle ages, the Utopian visionary, architecturally schooled sculptors and painters of the High Renaissance and Mannerist periods into Dada and Surrealism, the Bio-morphism of Archile Gorky/ Abstract Impressionism, early Modernist architecture (and Meret Oppenheim) ,and the obvious continuing thread of her visually acknowledged Feminist and late Modernist “mother” Eva Hesse, whose mere five year tragically abbreviated career staked fervent ground for many lesser and some (older) peer women sculptors like Jacquie Windsor whose work because of its materials and apparent lack of feminist content is sometimes seen as at odds with more avowedly feminist work like Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party.
However as women artists continue to be hugely under-represented it seems to me that any woman artist who manages to be seen and acknowledged becomes “Feminist” by virtue of being available as a model of a still marginalized minority. Dworsky’s crocheted rope sculptures are certainly per se more avowedly feminist than Louise Bopurgeois’ or Alice Aycock’s work yet their process and scale share the more traditionally “male” muscularity of these more celebrated women artists. Alisa’s sculpture has in the past decade spoken to art’s role in relation to architecture and/or environment and I’m particularly impressed with the maturation of the crucial component of a cognitive and affective personal visual/conceptual vocabulary in her work. This is what elevates innovative good art, which nominally contributes to the ongoing contemporary art/philosophy discourse (which is sometimes a lot of noise) to art which whilst doing that, echoes above the clamor to a sustained intriguing and ultimately mysterious conversation which is not happening with the intent of an elitist mystification but which invites us in, as with Joseph Cornell’s work, and transcends the nuts and bolts de rigeur covered bases to, with luck, become part of the larger enduring historical discourse.
Please share this around!
Best to you and Brava Alisa!
January 6, 2011
I’m exausted but pleased with how the onsite installation phase of my show at the Burlington City Arts is going. “Surface Tension” went up in a day and half. Meanwhile I’ve been working with 2-4 assistants at a time to construct “Points of View. The images posted here are rough, no great lighting, still work to do but they will give you a sense of how everything is developing. Remember the opening reception is friday January 14, 5-8 pm. The doors to the show open january 7th at 5 pm. Click the BCA center link to the right for more info on the location and gallery. See earlier postings about this show for more info.
I start installing two new installations and a suite of new prints on January 2nd for my upcoing solo show at the BCA Center ( formerly the Firehouse Gallery), 135 Church street, Burlington VT. See my earlier posts to view these works in progress.
” In the exhibit “Drawing Strength”, artist and architectural designer, Alisa Dworsky, presents prints and installations. Drawing is at the basis of all the work presented here including the installations. Dworsky intentionally selects linear materials ( here rope and bamboo) for her constructions, materials she manipulates to express drawing in three dimensions while defining space and form. The artist continues her investigation into the ways that human beings interact with the landscape, particularly our compulsion to impose geometric systems on the spaces we occupy. She presents prosaic materials in unusual ways, draws inspiration from architecture and construction, and provokes the viewer to reexamine the way they see their everyday world. Dworsky uses her art to explore the ambiguity of perception.”
December 7, 2010
The opening reception will be Friday January 14th from 5-8 pm. I’ll give an informal artist’s talk at 5 pm that night. Stop by if you are in the area. I will also try to be around for the Friday January 7th soft opening during friday night art walk in Burlington.
The title of my show alludes to the influence of drawing on this new body of work ( even though there are no drawings in this show) and the title alludes to the efficient systems of structural support used in these pieces. All the time I’ve spent building and designing structures has inevitably had an impact on my art. I consider these new installations a continuation of my “landscape” works . Instead of responding to a landscape outdoors, I am building a couple of landscapes within the Gallery walls. The installations evolved from my continuing interest in the human tendency to overlay the landscape with geometric systems in an effort to impose order . I enjoy the ”Middle Ground” that Leo Marx speaks of in his great book, The Machine in the Garden. This middle ground moment occurs when culture and nature exert an equal force on a place , each shaping the other in an aesthetic of coexistence which Marx speaks of as the true definition of the pastoral.
I’ve been crocheting in the past few weeks as I prepare “Surface Tension” for the front Gallery on Church Street. There will be a counterweight system supporting it and I have work to do connecting the elements with more crochet at the floor level. It’s coming along. I’m using a “Fillet Crochet ” technique to make a cellular pattern. I vary the size of the ‘cell” creating subtle tonal shifts in the work. I like this approach because the piece is so graphic, the line quality so evident with this play of positive and negative space at my disposal. I could almost write binary code with this technique. Of course the open cells and radiating lines and grids also remind me of computer drawings. The handmade and the digital all wrapped up . I do use computer graphics as well as hand drawing to rough out the shapes and general approach to the installation.
Also in the slide show are a few details of the second installation which will be in the show titled ” Points of View”. This work is made of poles configured in a web of tetrahedrons on which reflective blue tape is mounted in fragments at a level, creating a tenuous shimmering plane . The hidden order within this “landscape” is only visible from a certain point of view.
Thank you to the Vermont Community Foundation, Arts Endowment Fund for the grant which supported the creation of this new work.
November 23, 2010
I am creating 2 new installations for this upcoming show at the Firehouse Gallery, opening friday January 14, 2011. I Consider both installatiosn to be three dimensional drawings. Each piece presents an ambiguity and play between the two dimensional and three dimensional realms. The images shown below are schematic drawings and studies which I have done in preparation for creating the final works.
The first installation titled “ Surface Tension” will be made of over 18,000 ft of hand crocheted polyester rope. A series of counterweights, crochted sacks filled with river stones, are connected to the piece with a rope and pulley system, thereby raising the work off the floor to create a topographical surface.
The second installation, ” Points of View” is made of a series of poles (painted with white stripes) that are connected to each other to create a matrix of tetrahedrons that will fill the gallery space . With the use of a water level, pieces of blue reflective tape are mounted on this armature at level. A horizontal datum is established at approximately 5 feet above grade. When viewed from below or above no particular order will be apparent as to how this tape is positioned yet at a certain view point a level line within this interior landscape will be revealed to the viewer. The work will be lit by the viewer them-self, wearing a headlamp. The viewer with headlamp will activate a glow in the reflective tape while someone standing beside them will not see this phenomenon as their line of sight will not exactly correspond to the trajectory of the lighting source.
My installation, “InTension” , which I exhibited two years ago at the Brattleboro Museum, has been remounted in the exhibit “Fabrications” sponsored by Cynthia Reeves Projects. My work is now part of a very large exhibition of works by 19 artists from around the world which occupies the enormous 3rd floor of the Newport Mills in Newport NH. This should be a great show worth traveling for. I myself can’t wait to see the other works installed in the space. Visit the link to “fabrications” on my blogroll and check back frequently as the website is evolving as the show comes together. The origonal installation of “InTension” was funded by the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts as well as the Brattleboro Museum. It’s great to see it on exhibit again and this time I took advantage of the great amount of space at the Mill to play with the presentation of the piece….partricularly the placement of the counterweights.
This work is made of nearly 5 miles of handcrocheted polyester rope, river stones and pulleys. The ten “counterweights” support the crocheted enclosure. Ten strands of rope that run from the top of the enclosure, each through two pulleys to a counterweight a distance away.
My thanks to Cynthia Reeves and her staff, Azariah Aker, Anzell Jordon, Sara Mintz, and my assistant Matthew Sargent, for all their help. My deepest gratitude to my husband, Danny, and daughters, Leah and Sonya, who have supported me all along.
May 17, 2010
My installation, “Tranfer/Transform” went up at the Bennington Museum last week. It will remain on view through October 31st, 2010 as part of the ” State of Craft” exhibit at the Museum. Here are some of the photos of the Completed project. Please see my entry on April 4 for text explaining the project.Please see my entry on May 12 for images of the project going up. I have attached a link to the Museum website on my “blogroll”. See the slide show below for more images.