Sunday, March 6, 2011

Marie Watt

This piece in the Portland Art Museum was done by Marie Watt titled Almanac: Glacier Park, Granny Beebe and Satin Leger. It is made out of bronze, wool blankets and salvaged cedar. Aside from being a piece that I especially liked, this sculpture had a lot of symbolic meaning that I think made it even more interesting. Marie Watt takes an ordinary and familiar object and completely changes the textural and physical elements of it. I particularly enjoyed the juxtaposition of the hardness of the bronze blankets to the softness of the wool blankets. The piece almost fools the eye; when I first saw it, I thought it was entirely made out of blankets until I realized that the majority of them were bronze. I am uncertain about how this piece was made although if I had to guess I'd say it was bronze casted.
The rhythm of the repeated textures of the bronze blankets is broken up by the placement of the real blankets. I find this aspect of the piece to be the most striking feature and almost humorous in a way. As your eye moves from the base of the sculpture upward, its surprising to see the real blankets being tucked in there amongst the look-alikes. In addition, the real blankets may even add to the realistic qualities of the bronze blankets. My interpretation is this: The real blankets seem to suggest a whole new level of reality that almost identifies with the viewer, creating this immediate connection whereas the bronze blankets appear to be fixed in time; almost frozen, as a fossil-like representation of the former life of the blanket.
In this piece I can identify continuity of line, shape, texture and form. There also exists the strong contrast between the bronze blankets and the real ones, creating a subtle yet powerful variation in the otherwise unified piece.

Olivia Serrill

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