Home Residency: Day 2

Yesterday I took a quick trip to the Raleigh Museum of Art. I am teaching a children's camp there next week. I wanted to spend some time preparing for the lessons and checking out the offerings.

The museum just re-opened, after an extensive renovation and expansion, so I was excited to see the new space. The new building is really beautiful: a clean metal structure with lots of windows and natural grass landscaping. It reminded me a bit of the aesthetic of the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Tx. The ceiling is full of skylights and the space is filled with plenty of light. Natural light in a museum makes for a wonderful viewing experience.

While the collection is small, they have a nice broad representation of everything from functional African art; to huge Robert Motherwell paintings; many sculptures by Rodin; two large Henry Moore pieces outside; some wonderful religious paintings from the 12 and 13th century, and a lone Picasso. It was a lovely two hours of looking, learning, and paying attention.  Here are some highlights:

Ledelle Moe, Congregation
2005-2008, concrete

This is my favorite piece. I love that each of the heads has a unique face, and that they are all facing in different directions. The slight variations in color come from the different colors of sand found in all the places the artist cast the concrete. I so enjoy the look of clusters of similar objects; calm but not monotonous. This is the kind of piece you can stand in front of and look for a long time. In fact you could look at it every day and not get tired.  Its simple aesthetic pulls you in to examine the details and discover the surprises in each face. 

Alison Saar, Tippy Toes
2007, wood, cast bronze

Anselm Kiefer, Untitled, 1980-1986, 
Oil, acrylic, emulsion, shellac, lead, charcoal, and straw on photography; mounted canvas; with stones, lead, and steel cable; in three parts. 

Juame Plensa, Doors of Jerusalem I, II, & III
2006, resin, stainless steel, light

These pieces are just amazing to stand under. The figures glow in this delicate ghostly way. The first thing you experience as you walk through the museum doors suggest a solemn invitation to quiet yourself. They sort of remind me of a sphinx, or an oracle. I almost expected them to open their mouths and intone some prophetic statement upon us all. I think it's quite wonderful how objects this large can be made to seem light, but not airy, not like they could float away, but more like a soft white blanket settling down upon you.  

Patrick Dougherty, Out of the Box
2009, red maple saplings

All the wonderful movement in this piece feels like the beginning of a storm. Pressure and wind and sound and water all swirling together waiting to drop. I loved looking at it and feeling its weight. My eye just roved and flew all over. I felt like I could get swept right up into it. It would be wonderful to eat underneath these lovely, lively lines, but I don't know that I would be a very good dinner companion.  I might forget to talk to whomever I was with!


w. david o. taylor said...

This is all very exciting, Phaedra. Well done. I'm only sorry not to be around to share it with you. Soon, though.

shannon newby said...

oh boy - so much beautiful stuff! how can you possibly take it all in in such a short amount of time? thanks for introducing me to new artists!!