Monday, October 31, 2005

Michelle Arab's Epiphyte

As you continue on the path, you pass a stretch of uninhabited space where no artists chose to place work. It skirts along the top of the ridge that drops steeply on one side toward the water, and heads gently up through heavy brush on the other side. Michelle had spoken to me about being drawn into the site because of its contours: she gravitated toward the ravine, down to the low spots that were nested at the crook of the cliff that abutted the beach.

Her piece at the big leaf maple creates its own kind of hollow in spite of its location at the crest of the steep hill, and because of her choice of material and treatment. The cluster of trunks has been wrapped in twine, methodically and in a linear pattern. The upright of the trees creates ribs for an oversized basket, of which the twine forms the weft. One space between two trunks has been left open, and viewers could enter the piece.

I was struck by the play of light on this piece -- how sun penetrated or reflected off the surface of the sometimes taut, then slackening line.

Michelle's own words: "My work investigates the relationship between art, landscape and architecture by creating conceptually driven, site specific pieces that reveal latent histories and stories.

Supported by Big Leaf Maple trunks, the wrapping cotton twine will transform over the course of the three-month exhibit as the twine absorbs moisture. The changes in the environment will cause the initially taut lines to relax and break down the twine screen."


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