Friday, January 12, 2007

Ruth Asawa: My Mobile Inspiration

Ruth Asawa's Contours in the Air was a fantastic exhibition at San Francisco's De Young Museum in the heart of Golden Gate Park. I had the pleasure of spending a few hours at the museum with my good friend Cha-Chi over here. The crocheted wire was dyed in many muted colors, and the open forms cast interesting shadows against the walls, ceiling and floor to capture "Air".

I've had a fascination with mobiles in the home since I was a baby, looking up from the crib bed and staring at floating stars and hearts and animals. My mother later taught me more sophisticated uses for mobiles, when she hung capiz-shell lanterns in fluid shapes from the living room ceiling down to the carpeting, lit from within by tiny accent lights so that the entire structure cast a warm seashell glow around the living room in the evenings by the fireplace in my family's home on the Jersey Shore.

Here is some text about the show:

In her lifelong experimentations with wire, especially its capacity to balance open and closed forms, Asawa invented a powerful new vocabulary. Committed to enhancing the quality of daily life through art produced within the home, she contributed a unique perspective to the formal explorations of 20th century abstract sculpture.

Working in a variety of non-traditional media, Asawa performed a series of uncanny metamorphoses, leading viewers into a deeper awareness of natural forms by revealing their structural properties. Through her artistic practice, Asawa has reconnected with the Buddhist ethos of her parents, transforming the commonplace into metaphors for life processes themselves.

“Because her work uses nontraditional materials and a manual method that appears related to knitting, weaving and craft, it is often overlooked in discussions of modernist sculpture,” says Dr. Cornell, Director of Contemporary Art Projects and Curator of American Art. “Furthermore, her decision to create works that hang, often meant to be seen from below, challenges the standard conventions of sculpture.”

-from de Young Museum Organizes First Major Ruth Asawa Retrospective

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