Sunday, March 13, 2016

Other People's Art

Over the past few months I have been in somewhat of an art slump. I haven't known what to create. There is a desire to create, but what to make has been elusive and I have felt more adrift than anchored in my creative practice. With that all being said, over the last week I have had the opportunity to experience some incredible pieces of art.

Last week my husband and I went to the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati where they are holding a Do Ho Suh exhibition. And it is absolutely fantastic. For those of you (seriously, is there anyone reading this?) who is in the Cincinnati area, please do yourselves a favor and don't miss this incredible show. The photos don't do the show justice and it must be seen in person because it is such a physical experience.

These are just a few of the pieces from the show, and only express one dimension of the show. Do Ho Suh's work is all about space and place. Several pieces are life-size replicas of places that he has lived in, represented in exacting detail through fabric, wire and thread, these are seen above. 

In addition to these amazing pieces are several videos that walk you through various places and spaces. One such video is displayed on three walls so that when one stands in the middle of the room it becomes an entire experience. The video walks us through London and Seoul, and is accompanied by the charming voice of his daughter who is riding in the stroller on top of which are the three cameras that record the passing surroundings. 

Needless to say, we spent two hours looking at this exhibition alone and I would happily go back again to spend more time experiencing the pieces. Each of the pieces felt so meticulously and intentionally created, it is very to spend a significant amount of time with each piece. If you are curious to learn more, read about it from the CAC here.

Another artist that I came across recently is Rowan Mersh, who creates a different kind of amazing that I have never seen before. Mersh crosses between drawing, tapestry, and sculpture, creating pieces that live somewhere in between each of those definitions. To me, these pieces look delicate and kinetic, but are often crafted with hard, unmoving materials like shells and metal--and that is what I find so compelling. The ability to create something hard out of something soft is something that we see regularly. For instance, thin wire can become a hard mesh, the soft tree pulp becomes cardstock, cardboard, with varying degrees of hardness. But to create something that looks so effortlessly soft out of something as unwaveringly hard like seashells and metal is magnificent. What's more, these pieces look like grasses rustling in the wind, or sea anemones flowing in the ocean, frozen in a moment.

I ran across Mersh's work rather serendipitously, through browsing sculpture images on Pinterest. I have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest because it feels cheap, like a popularity contest for shit that doesn't matter (how many Likes something has). But I have found some incredible artwork and artists through it, and I do like that part.

Another artist that I found via Pinterest is Richard Sweeney. This is only partly true. I originally came across Sweeney's work in 2011 in Wallpaper Magazine, but I admittedly just didn't get it when it was presented in Wallpaper. It's an amazing magazine, he's an amazing artist, but for whatever reason it didn't click at that point, and I passed it by. But this time, on the much loathed Pinterest, it clicked.

Sweeney is another British artist, who primarily works with paper as his medium of choice. Sweeney's work is meticulously crafted, with clean lines, smudge and dent free. The paper seems to transcend its ordinariness and move in ways I have never seen paper move. His Pleated Works are enviably gestural, and endlessly compelling.

I would love to experience Sweeney's and Mersh's works in person and spend a good, long time looking at them from several angles. Because I'm unclear of how copyright works in blogging I've only linked to the artist's websites instead of including the digital images. But, because of that, you, dear reader, are able to take a longer look at their work and be able to find your own favorites.

To those that pass this way every once in awhile, thanks for reading.