Heather Rowe: Tenuous Arrangements
Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion
Tenuous Arrangements exemplifies Heather Rowe's unique sculptural practice, in which she employs architectural fragments to create complex abstract compositions that engage the space around them in surprising and often poetic ways. Assembling what appear to be slivers of domestic spaces, Tenuous Arrangements takes the form of a succession of cascading frames, suggesting an unfolding screen or a series of freestanding walls. Its series of shifting frames, in which the viewer's reflection is enmeshed, also evokes the psychological effect of a filmic sequence. Taking Robert Altman's 1977 film Three Women as a starting point, Rowe has selected a color scheme and other details to evoke that sense of three different "characters" within her composition.
The interstitial openings in Rowe's wall-like forms are filled with domestic materials such as wallpaper, carpet and fabric that create a dynamic play between "inside" and "outside" surfaces. Shards of mirrors are inserted throughout the work, complicating the work's arrangement within the rotunda. Recalling Gordon Matta-Clark's influential "building cuts" of the 1970s, Rowe's work deconstructs notions of interiority and provoke viewers to move about and engage in the complex space the sculpture creates.
As the artist has stated, "This work raises questions of whether what defines us as individuals is a fixed condition, or really something that is quite tenuous and fragile with the possibility of a sudden and complete shift. In the details of this work I have created different 'personalities' through decorative furnishings, wallpaper, color choices and other elements. It explores the choices which might make a space an expression of someone's personality. The absence of the figure is carved out of the space by strategically placed mirror slices-activated by viewers entering IMA's pavilion, their reflections caught between and within the meandering structure."
Support provided by a grant from The Efroymson Family Fund, A CICF Fund.
Image: Heather Rowe, Tenuous Arrangements, 2010, wood, metal, glass, mirror, paint, wallpaper, fabric and carpet.