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Barbara Sorensen Environments

Sorensen’s two newest series, “Dwellings” and “Wind” represent a significant departure from her usual use of clay and cast bronze. Instead for the first time the sculptor explores new material including aluminum, wire, resin and rope: yet the works still reference organic forms. The “Dwellings” are open structures, formed like honeycombed cocoons. Instead of having the irregular, crystalline “spines” covered by a material that obscures the interiors, in each they are left uncovered and transparent like tumbleweeds carried by the wind to their present location. The forms’ openings are rounded inward and whether standing vertically or horizontally, they resemble fishing nets to capture and hold underwater life, while still permitting water, nutrients, and sunlight to flow through them. Their large scale allows humans to crouch and remain inside like sea creatures that have been captured and protected.

The elements implied by the movement and placement of the “Dwellings” are captured in the sculptor’s “Wind” series. The forms spiral out towards the viewer whose eyes are drawn down deeply inside the center of each. The interior form is created by conically arranged wire structures: its outside is ringed with rope that is covered with white resin. Each form originates with a small circumference at the bottom and increases towards its open summit like active tornadoes. This analogy is reinforced by the surface of each on which small individual strands of rope escape from their center. They are visibly frozen in the resin like debris that has been gathered and held by the moving tunnel of wind’s powerful velocity as it circles across the landscape. Of varying heights, the visual manifestations of formidable and often destructive wind bend, bow, and sway in assorted directions, reinforcing our perception of the installations active and vitality and power.

Barbara Bloemink, Former Curator Museum of Arts and Design