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In-Running, Out-Flowing Web, 2004

UM Institute for the Humanities

mixed media objects on wall with paint and vinyl lettering

 

The elements of this installation were all linked to the collaborative performance project Ariel Web (2000). The sculptures are constructed of fabric tightly stretched over an armature of wire grids.  The deliberately rusted wire stains the fabric in shades of brown and orange lines, visible as a faceted drawing on the surface.  Beeswax applied over the fabric creates a shell through which the rusty lines can be seen at various depths.  Their taut, semi-translucent surfaces have the sensual attraction of human skin. 

 

The forms and possibilities of skin as membrane, as sack, as the body's largest and most visible organ also evoke the constructions of creatures within our environment.  Exoskeletons, cocoons, and hives are products of a natural geometry, a mathematical intelligence within life itself, the "wasp's nest in December, / blizzard winds shredding its paper layers / into blow-away nothings." 

 

I wonder at the arbitrary boundary we draw between instinctual building activities and what we more comfortably label artistic creation by humans.  At the very least, such constructions provide a vibrant metaphor for processes of creative intention, the web of imagination evoked by Tillinghast's interlocking mesh of forest paths.