most of us think of sculpture, we think of weighty, earth-bound artworks.
Artists Beverly Penn and Hillevi Baar break this stereotype with crisp
structures composed as much of light and shadow as of mass.
Beverly Penn's wall-based artworks, while superficially quite attractive,
have layers of conceptual content that lead to a deeper beauty. The
artist has directly cast numerous botanical artifacts in bronze and
joined these to more obviously artificial metal forms. The plants
call to mind a display one might see in a museum of natural history.
The formal display of these organisms from our everyday environment
creates a mental separation between the viewer and the object observed.
This human/nature interface is one of the core themes that the artist
explores. In several
works, highly abstracted plant forms that are made to be a part of
architecture are juxtaposed with the very realistic casts. The fascinating
Family Tree incorporates several bar codes, which are from various
articles the artist has used to create her work. The plants in this
piece appear to be connected in an organizational chart, but the taxonomy
thereby created is completely artificial - these plants are not related
to one another in any other way than their form. The piece likely
refers to the genetic maniplation of plants.
Penn's Magnetic North is a great example of her fine technical Skill
as a metalworker. She has delicately etched a disk with words indicating
plants and directions and joined this to several plant forms to create
a compass of sorts. The disk is so subtly crafted that one might take
it as an antique found object - there is no distracting clunkiness
or roughness to be seen.
Hillevi Baar's delicate works pair well with Penn's. These lightweight
pieces, crafted out of mylar and herculene, softly command the spaces
and light around them. Slender, near-invisible metal supports provide
structure. Patterns are painstakingly drawn on the sheets of film,
only to be dissected and rearranged by the artist. Dutch Swirl, Red
Pattern, and Arabesque are fairly flat, with the pattern of the drawing
predominating. In these the pattern is cut into tiny squares and reassembled
at varying depths echoing the tonality of the pattern. In other works,
the sculptural aspect is more important, although they remain wall-based.
Weeping Willow extends well into the room and responds to the movement
of the air that surrounds it. Baar's Orange Pop (which likely riffs
on Larry Poons' op art pieces from the Sixties) fully commands the
wall where it is installed and quite deliberately incorporates shadow
into its near-luminous design. –Jacqueline May