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 30, 2010
1. What is you personal/aesthetic relationship to the line? That is, how do you understand it, use it, etc.?
The line is at the basis of all of my work: architecture, printmaking, installation and of course drawings. In architecture when we first conceive of a solid building we explore it’s potential with sketches. As the building design develops we explain our specific ideas for this solid three dimensional structure through a set of construction documents; a series of drawings, slices, differing views, all constructed of lines. In construction we start again with the line as we lay out the footprint of the building’s foundation, stretching nylon cord between wooden stakes. I think of a building as the slow accretion and layering of lines , so dense and full of information that eventually a solid form takes shape.
So, I see lines everywhere even within seemingly solid forms. My drawings describe volumes but the character and insistence of the line is always paramount. The crocheted installations, some dense, some netted and open, follow from these drawings. What I love about crochet is that my material is a line, a length of rope, which I shape and knot and transform into something three dimensional. I feel like I’m drawing even though I’m working in three dimensions. The most recent crocheted work uses a fillet crochet technique associated with the making of lace. I can make open cells of different sizes, a complex netted structure in which the character of the negative space between the crocheted lines is as important as the lines themselves. Also of interest to me in these works is how a load, in essence the weight of the work, is transferred through these lines as the work hangs suspended in a space or from a building. This weight and the counteracting forces put the line into a state of what architects and engineers call “tension”, and in tension a strong material with a very small cross section can support a great deal of weight. In other words using a line is a far more efficient way of supporting a structure than piling material on material to build a compressive wall or column. So I love how efficient a line is both literally and figuratively.
I have developed a new set of prints titled “Fine Cord”. Here I use a literal line, a length of fine nylon, to make the mark in the prints. The texture and character of this cord is transferred to the metal plates with a soft ground technique. I enjoy the layering of perception required when viewing these prints; one sees an abstract graphic line and a literal , represented line, simultaneously. By layering multiple plates, multiple registrations, a mass of color and texture is built up into an image that some have likened to plant forms.
The other thing about line is that it embodies movement. When we draw a line, we draw in a direction, our body moves and the line is a record of this movement. I think living in a rural area, I’m particularly attuned to the movement in the landscape: the wind blowing the bare November branches, the snow swirling in funnel forms in a storm, the braided shifting surface of water. The very basic understanding revealed to us through quantum physics is that in all matter there is movement.
2. Do you find a relationship between sculpture/installation/drawing and the human body? Or between your art and your body?
About 13 years ago I spent a few weeks at an artist’s recidency in Vermont where I had access every day to a figure drawing session with a model. So I started drawing the figure again after what had been a long hiatus. I drew the figure in a way that was new for me; instead of drawings the outlines I saw, I modeled the figure as one might model a landscape in a topographical map or a computer drawing. I defined the figure through a series a wrapped contour lines . This experience blurred the distinction for me between landscape and figure and these figure drawings directly influenced my current abstract forms.
3. Is there anything you dislike about being an artist?
What I find most difficult and most liberating is that as an artist I must define for myself what I consider success in my work. I’ve experienced many an ah ha moment, moments of clarity, when I know that I have had a breakthrough, an idea for new work or the satisfaction that a completed work has attained all that I might have hoped for it. Those are very pleasurable moments. But there are many other moments when it is easy to doubt ones endeavors, to question the ultimate importance or reason for doing what I do. I wish I could be spared that doubt but stubbornly and with a bit of mischief I continue because I love to define a problem for myself, to follow a path of discovery that is completely non-utilitarian, not a building, not useful in any particular way except that it might affect how people see the world. The freedom that comes from being an artist is very hard to live with but is also indispensable.
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.
December 6, 2010
This is a small selection from an ongoing series of prints. these impressions were created over the summer. I use a soft ground technique to transfer the texture and shape of a fine nylon cord to the zinc plate. I create a family of intaglio metal plates which I ink and use in various combination, reusing plates to make “Ghost images” and take advantage of offset images. Each print is made with multiple registrations. Final images are 9″ x 9″ on 19″ x 15″ paper. Each print is unique.
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.
June 22, 2010
My drawings will be in a three person show at the NAVE Gallery in Sommerville. Note that the official opening is Thursday, July 8th, 6-8 pm, but if you attend the Jazz concert at NAVE on June 27th at 3pm you can get a preview of the show. The other artists in the show are Ron Brunelle showing paintings and Kathleen Finlay with an installation. My friend, Paul Kafka-Gibbons will be performing with his group ” Skinny Emu”, an improvisational music-dance-spoken word quartet featuring Paul, Joe Burgio, Andrew Eisenberg and Josh Jefferson. Look for them at 8pm the evening of the opening July 8th. FREE to all.
for more info http://www.navegallery.org (see link on my blogroll). Gallery open Fri 6-8 pm, Sat & Sunday 1-5 pm . Nave Gallery, Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church, 155 Powderhouse BLV, Sommerville, MA