Archipelago: an Intimate Immensity is a collaborative multimedia installation that raises questions of scale, intimacy, and territoriality. The primary tools of the exhibition are common domestic materials used by artists to describe geological forms that evoke landscape and interior topographies. This hybrid installation crosses boundaries between sculpture and painting.
Originally conceived in Amsterdam at Arti et Amicitiae, an artists’ guildhall, Archipelago became a replicating landscape of endless variation. “A sea with many islands” is the original meaning of “archipelago”. In Denver, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 33 artists from six states and three countries make this a seascape of dynamic and diverse contrasts. Blue and orange predominate—elemental colors of air-water,earth-fire. Among the materials used are plastic drinking cups, glass photographic plates, leather, rubber, carpet, cloth and cellophane. The museum space has been transformed. Some islands now reach for the ceiling. As each artwork flexes its muscle, the walls have crumbled, revealing formerly hidden pillars. Now, these prominent vertical elements make up a series of intervals to suggest Mondrian’s conception of nature while reinforcing the connection between architecture and landscape.
In bringing 33 individual explorations of landscape together to form an interlocking space, issues of voice and interdependence arise. There is scant space in Archipelago for quiet contemplation of isolated aesthetic objects. Close proximity of each work forces a contentious blending of voices. Ideas clash, embrace, and mutate as contexts shift. In a relative universe, nothing is fixed. Boundaries between small and large, the concrete and the imaginary, dissolve in the multiplicity of artists’ perspectives, inducing hallucinatory transpositions in scale and substance. Interaction proliferates. Artist-crafted islands erupt into shifting strata. Paths become lines of flight or grounds for confusion. Territories are claimed and lost. Ann Shostrom | June 2002
My work is a way of re-shaping the everyday objects in the world into another perhaps unexpected experience. I am basically a collector and translator of symbols. In the transformative process of making objects, I am constantly opening myself to deeper learning, striving to lift the veils of the physical world and enter the realm of the spirit. I am interested in the fundamental mystery, in drawing connections between disparate objects and elucidating relationships between similar materials. For instance, how can thread be used to represent purling water? Or what is the relationship between a canopy of islands floating overhead to islands rising up from the depth of the ocean floor? Or how is the smallest nuclear particle similar to a far off galaxy? I think about the fleeting, ephemeral nature of a butterfly and the seeming solidity of a chunk of mica as if it is an equation. What can you add or subtract to come up with a new possibility? I like the idea of illuminating the world around us, as if I have a flashlight sending out a beam onto one pinpoint. And hopefully, that beam will radiate out, shape-shift again and again and join with another source of light. All searching for illumination, for the irresistible entanglement of every creative endeavor seems to me to be a longing for a deeper, mystical union. Rebecca DiDomenico