my small and boxed-in freedom
This outdoor installation was included in the White Rock Center for Sculptural Art's Summer Invitational III, 2021 as part of New York Textile Month. This piece is called “my small and boxed-in freedom…” The title comes from Clarice Lispector’s book “Aqua Viva”, loosely translated as “Living Water”. The full passage is “My small and boxed-in freedom joins me to the freedom of the world—but what is a window if not the air framed by right angles? I am rudely alive.” It is made of cast FGR 95 (a fiber glass reinforced gypsum), handwoven cotton, acrylic paint/ink and MDF.
I wanted to conjure a sense of emotional architecture for the boxed-in kind of freedom I have felt through the pandemic and other difficult transitions I’ve endured over the past two years. The studio and this new medium of weaving (this was my first experience weaving on a floor loom) has been a small freedom for me. I wanted to honor my small and boxed-in freedoms and invite others to celebrate theirs as well, as a way of connecting and communing in a time of adversity.
The central panel has “freedom” embedded in its patterning, using the dots and dashes of morse code. The breeze block pattern that I use in my work was originally designed as an architectural feature of cement blocks to keep out the sun and let in the breeze. I use this pattern in my work to signify refuge, a filter that keeps out what’s harmful and lets in what’s nourishing. I wanted the piece to lie on its back reflecting the sky, or suggest water reflecting the sky. I’ve never created an outdoor piece before. It was exciting to respond to the land, and to incorporate the grass as a third element. I wanted the piece to feel integrated, like it lived there, emerging or starting to sink back down into the earth. I was incredibly grateful for the trust that White Rock had and for the opportunity to experiment.