Struc­tural­ism

Pasatiempo - - CONTENTS -

Ar­chi­tec­tural in­stal­la­tions at SITE’s Un­sus­pected Pos­si­bil­i­ties

The theme of col­lab­o­ra­tion on site-spe­cific in­stal­la­tions ties to­gether the SITE Santa Fe ex­hibits SITE 20 Years/20 Shows: Sum­mer and Un­sus­pected Pos­si­bil­i­ties. Within that con­text, the works of the three artists in the lat­ter show — Marie Watt, Leonardo Drew, and Sarah Op­pen­heimer — are united by ex­plo­rations of struc­tural or ar­chi­tec­tural con­cerns. Drew is known for his large-scale sculp­tural works that ad­dress themes of ur­ban de­cay, so­cial jus­tice, and the com­mod­i­fi­ca­tion of na­ture. Ap­pear­ing al­most like a cityscape in mi­cro­cosm viewed from above, his wall-mounted in­stal­la­tion in Un­sus­pected Pos­si­bil­i­ties com­prises burned wooden blocks and planks of var­i­ous lengths and widths. More or­gan­i­clook­ing, branch­like ap­pendages af­fixed to the wall con­trast with the ge­o­metri­cized pat­tern­ing of the cut wood.

Watt’s com­po­nent of the in­stal­la­tion con­forms to the rough di­men­sions of an Iro­quois long­house. “When I was liv­ing in New York City, where you live in these dense com­mu­nity sit­u­a­tions where there’s a lot of ver­ti­cal liv­ing, I be­came in­ter­ested in how neigh­borly ev­ery­body was and the peo­ple you meet by na­ture of your rou­tines,” Watt told Pasatiempo. “You get to know peo­ple as a re­sult of that dense com­mu­nity liv­ing.” Watt, who is part Seneca, took the idea of ver­ti­cal liv­ing, as in a high-rise apart­ment com­plex, and trans­lated it into the hor­i­zon­tal for­mat of the long­house, re­plac­ing the tra­di­tional corn-husk mats that di­vide the in­te­ri­ors of long­houses into sep­a­rate liv­ing spa­ces for fam­i­lies with blan­kets cre­ated with the help of sewing cir­cles from SITE, the In­sti­tute of Amer­i­can In­dian Arts, Tierra En­can­tada Char­ter School, and the Santa Fe In­dian School. Each textile con­veys a nar­ra­tive scene that re­lates to Na­tive his­to­ries from the East Coast, where Watt is from, to the West, where she now lives, in Port­land, Ore­gon. “I’m com­ing back in Oc­to­ber for the Na­tive Amer­i­can Arts Stud­ies Con­fer­ence, and we’re invit­ing the same stu­dent groups back to SITE to see their con­tri­bu­tion to the fin­ished work,” Watt said.

Op­pen­heimer’s con­tri­bu­tion is com­posed of ar­chi­tec­tural in­ter­ven­tions built into the walls of SITE: strate­gi­cally placed win­dows set with an­gled mir­rors that al­low visi­tors to see Watt’s and Drew’s in­stal­la­tions from another room and from around a cor­ner. It’s a be­guil­ing and in­no­va­tive pro­ject that toys with viewer per­cep­tions and per­spec­tive. Each artist in­di­vid­u­ally worked on his or her pro­ject, and the re­sult is an in­stal­la­tion of works that stand on their own as well as in re­la­tion to one another. —M.A.

de­tails

▼ Un­sus­pected Pos­si­bil­i­ties

▼ Opens 12 p.m. Satur­day, July 18; ex­hibit through Jan. 3, 2016

▼ SITE Santa Fe, 1606 Paseo de Peralta, 505-989-1199

▼ En­trance by mu­seum ad­mis­sion (no charge July 18)

Leonardo Drew:

Num­ber 163, 2012; wood, paint, pa­per, me­tal, cour­tesy the artist & Sikkema Jenk­ins Co. Be­low, Marie Watt: East Meets West

Sum­mit, textile

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