A tension between rational structures and organic entanglements runs throughout Kathleen Vance
's woodsy drawings, sculptures and installations. Dominating the main room of her new exhibition at Williamsburg's Art 101
, Outgrowth of Nature
(through November 6), the massive sculptural installation "Out of the Woods" (2011) is a twisting loop of twigs and sticks of varying thicknesses bound together with twine. About six feet tall and ten feet in diameter, from certain angles it resembles a giant treble clef, but it's decidedly abstract. Like a giant compressed spring, its bundled sticks seem ready to snap out of the torqued and curving formation into which Vance bound them. On surrounding walls hang exhaustively detailed ink drawings depicting the leafy spots where she gathered sticks and branches for the huge sculpture. The drawings' near-photographic precision echoes the sculptural gesture, imposing structures and immutable lines on fragments of wilderness.
In the gallery's back room a steady trickling sound emanates from a selection of Vance's "Traveling Landscapes
" series, tiny verdant environments contained inside trunks, travel cases and other types of luggage. Each is cracked open and fitted with interior lighting, so that the precious interior landscapes glow. They feature moss, grass, rocks, dirt and tiny ponds. Looking in on these idyllic miniatures provokes endearment, like that of a bearded man in the clouds peering down on Eden. But the "Traveling Landscapes" are so thoroughly contained that they too tidily resolve the show's engaging disjuncture between our desire for order and the natural systems on which we struggle to impose it.
(Images courtesy the artist, Art 101; Installation photos by the author.)
Inside Kathleen Vance's Tiny Landscapes and Sticky Installations
Photos from the Brooklyn-based artist's new show at Art 101.
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