Let’s start with the title: ana<lineament>muse
First, “ana” is defined as a collection of miscellaneous information about a particular subject, person, place, or thing.
The whole show is a collection of objects that span my inquiry of investigations over the past fifteen years of making art.
ana: Gaudi the muse is an intimate installation that gives time and space to look carefully at some delicate porcelain objects and also feel the speed of the curved space in which it inhabits. The work is inspired by Gaudi’s journals and models that I saw on a recent trip to Barcelona. Gaudi had a fabulous way of playing with architectural forms by relieving himself from any concerns of gravity. He would take a piece of wood and hang it from the ceiling. Then he would attach a chain to the wood at two points and, subsequently, the chain would hang down making a catenary arch. He would repeat this over and over again and have many chains hanging at varying angels. In order to get an idea about what the model looked like standing upright, he would put a mirror underneath the dangling maquette and, hence, see the building right side up.
This technique to free oneself while making work is at the heart of my practice. Many of the forms displayed on the mirrored surface table were made by dangling chains, wire, string, shoelaces, and ribbon from a disc of porcelain and then dipping those suspended strands into porcelain slip over and over again until wiggly tendrils were strong enough to stand up on their own. The decision of how to install the work in the beautiful little curved room, which was originally intended as a cloak room, all come from this Gaudi quote: “I work and work and play and play until something floats to the surface.” The speed and sweep of the curved room lends itself to having something float to the surface.
The second collection is nomos (crease). This is the most recent iteration of a series that I have been working on for over 15 years. In this rendition I am focusing on using bursts of colors that give reference to the hues and textures found in the richness of the underwater landscape.
Now onto “lineament” which means a feature of detail of a face, body, or figure considered to its outline or contour- usually relates to distinguishing features or characteristic.
The other singular pieces in the show have to do with my imaginings and meanderings of how emotion is formed and what it looks like in relation to certain body parts. yon is about some kind of wondering overgrown intestine snaking around on the floor; flump is an overgrown stomach trying to purge itself of a bulbous creature; fingertip is an abstracted interior form that has an opening large enough for one to imagine putting a fingertip inside; and trickle is an ear straining to listen to itself and finding some clarity in a stream of pig intestine culminating in a dollop of clear, mandarin pulp. All these sculptures are at the heart of my art making. They are the rawness of coming to understanding something-through the senses- that then activate places in us that we might not be aware of.
And finally “muse.”
Making the work for this show is so much about relishing in all the muses around me. And my hope is by showing you these pieces and installations that you too will find some sort of muse in them as well.
-Martha Russo, 2009