January 5, 2016

WONDER at the Renwick Gallery Smithsonian American Art Museum



The new exhibit, Wonder, at the Renwick Gallery in Washington DC is awe-some. Using everyday objects, nine artists created nine "immersive" artworks to make visitors literally wonder. I recognized the name of three of the artists -- Patrick, Dougherty, Leo Villarreal, and Maya Lin. I first saw Patrick Dougherty's stick sculpture at the Parque del Retiro in Madrid. Leo Villarreal designed The Bay Lights in San Francisco and Hive in the Bleecker Street NYC subway station. Maya Lin is Maya Lin. The other six artists are Jennifer Angus, Chakaia Booker, Gabriel Dawe, Tara Donovan, Janet Echelman, and John Grade. The artworks are presented in the order in which I saw them.


Shindig
Patrick Dougherty
2015


Plexus A1
Gabriel Dawe
2015


Untitled
Tara Donovan
2014


Volume (Renwick)
Leo Villareal
2015


1.8
Janet Echelman
2015
I have not done this for the previous entries but wanted to highlight the significance of the title of this work. The March 11, 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami were so strong that the earth was shifted on its axis and the day on which the event occurred "was shortened...by 1.8 millionths of a second."


Middle Fork
John Grade 
2015
I'm going to annotate this work as well. This piece was created from a plaster cast of a living 150 year old hemlock in Seattle's Cascade Mountains. The artwork will be set in the same forest at the closing of the Wonder exhibit.


Folding the Chesapeake
Maya Lin
2015


ANONYMOUS DONOR
Chakaia Booker
2015



In the Midnight Garden
Jennifer Angus
2015

Do you have a favorite piece? I was really struck by the use of color in Jennifer's Angus piece. It's also a great celebration of insect life. As an urban forester, it was a pleasure to be introduced to John Grade's work and to see another sculpture by Patrick Dougherty. And I'm happy to finally see one of Maya Lin's works in person.

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