Artist Talk: Carolyn Enz Hack
Presented in connection with the exhibit Change Your Mind: Carolyn Enz Hack.
There is so much about life that’s intangible, and sculpture doesn’t usually give form to that which we cannot see. Objects are rarely used to for this purpose except in a metaphorical way. A physicist may make a model to illustrate a theory, but that most often takes a mathematical form. What I’m interested in is poking and prodding ideas, giving shape to thought. Thinking about the stuff that holds us together. What’s out there isn’t always symmetric or beautiful. We are finite, feeling the infinite pressing against us until we’re lost to mortality. What’s out there is simplicity linked to layers and layers of distracting clutter.
We form patterns of thought based on absorbed information and life experiences. The metaphor would be a cloud made up of many pieces of information that come together and just as quickly dissipate to form a different cloud with a different configuration of pieces. We may be aware of how limited that can be or take for granted how easily our thoughts come and go, rarely considering how dynamically it affects outcome. I actively question my perception and information analysis, always trying to cultivate flexible thinking.
Intangibles are far more influential than anything else in affecting how our lives unfold. This piece is an attempt to give form to this most plastic aspect of experience, of moving from one mental state to another. The media that I use are direct metaphors for transient and reflective processes occurring mostly beyond consciousness.
I like working with translucent media, especially when those materials can be layered to make areas of greater or lesser density. It relates to my earlier fascination with painting water, a medium that we can see into but that ultimately excludes us. Using varying sizes of wire mesh I can create objects that have a mystery about them stemming from our perception of changing density and uncertain edges. This sense of an object that has no exact boundaries and no real mass can be heightened through the use of mirror and other reflective media.
It’s not important to me whether any viewer “understands” my work. What I find most challenging is creating objects that prod the viewer to pause and wonder and ask themselves the question, “What am I looking at, and what does it bring up in me?” Maybe examine something beyond their layers and layers of distracting clutter.