Alisa Dworsky: Motion – Line – Form

May 9 - June 21, 2015

For several years Alisa Dworsky has been crocheting large-scale structures for installation in specific architectural spaces. Although some of these installations allow viewers to enter for an immersive experience, the art is essentially a static presentation. Two years ago, when Dworsky decided to reach beyond the studio and involve the viewer in her creative process, the maypole became her icon of how a structure could be woven to include community. The logistics of inserting viewers into the creative act then became her challenge.

On a parallel track was her fascination with the commonalities and differences in approach and form between artistic disciplines. The creative processes and structures of one art form often have a counterpart in another. A dancer takes the stage, makes a single movement, and then expands it into a phrase. A visual artist make a mark, extends it into a line, and then creates volume.

Motion – Line – Form was woven across the front of the museum in a performance of intentional movement by dancers Candice Salyers and Dahlia Nayar on Saturday, May 9 at 4 p.m. Although not directly weaving the structure, community members as an audience engaged in the process of creation by experiencing the physicality of the dance and the scale of the dancers in relation to that of the building and the weaving. The resulting sculpture retains the energy of the dance. Its open weave and placement on the exterior of Union Station animates the space, and its history of public creation reinforces it as a symbol of community.

— Mara Williams, Chief Curator

Click here to see a video of the May 9 performance of Motion – Line – Form.

With my seventy-foot-long textile installation connected to the museum’s façade, I hope to transform a prosaic space into a charged one that can dislodge us from the unfocused gaze we so often direct at the everyday world. Made of polyester ribbon, the piece was constructed in a performance as a radical transformation of the maypole dance. Together the dancers functioned like a loom to create a series of five textile forms organized in a sequence moving from left to right.

About connections—intellectual, social, formal, and collaborative—the installation integrates movement and structure, focusing attention on the body as the source of built order. Rhythm, repetition, density, and time duration are common grounds relevant to its diverse artistic disciplines.

In the drawings I use ribbon to define line, space, and movement. To create images on paper I apply pressure by rubbing repeatedly with graphite over strands of ribbon as I shift them beneath the page. I erase actively to control tone and remove extraneous marks. Simultaneously representational and abstract, static and dynamic, these drawings express force as the basis of mark making. Compression flattens the shallowly three-dimensional ribbons as their images become embedded in the paper.

Both the sculpture and the drawings express how unique forms and rhythms derive from simple actions (over-under-around and rubbing-pressing) across disciplines in textiles, structural systems, visual arts, and dance.

— Alisa Dworsky

Motion – Line – Form is supported in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Vermont Arts Council, the Arts Endowment Fund of The Vermont Community Foundation, the A.R.T. Fund of the Berkshire Taconic Foundation, and the Sustainable Arts Fund. The artist wishes to thank Bhakti Ziek and Sara Coffey for their input and expertise.


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