Thinking Outside the Wall Part Two: Technology, Space, and the Great Outdoors

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Storm Tharp, The Dresser (sftkbdp) (2008), mixed media, 94" x 202" x 137"

Storm Tharp, The Dresser (sftkbdp) (2008), Courtesy PDX Contemporary Art

Installation art is created to transform the perception of a space. If you really want to think outside the wall, an installation is a way to truly commit to a life surrounded by art. It is a singular experience to have one in your home or business: a conversation starter, a statement piece, and a flashpoint for creating unmistakeable ambience.

MK Guth, Terrain Change (2009), mixed media installation, variable dimensions

MK Guth, Terrain Change (2009), Courtesy Elizabeth Leach Gallery

Elizabeth Aro & Silvia Levenson, La piu bella del reame (2011), kilncast glass, iron and velvet, 38 x 30 x 41 inches (installed)

Elizabeth Aro & Silvia Levenson, La piu bella del reame (2011), Courtesy Bullseye Gallery

Installation art is also a great way to galvanize commercial and common spaces like lobbies, hallways, foyers, and landings, making a trip between floors or through buildings into a unique and stimulating experience.

Ming Fay, Full Circle (2011)

Ming Fay, Full Circle (2011), Courtesy Butters Gallery

Video Art

Matt McCormick, future so bright: western edge (2007), 16 MM film transferred to single channel digital video with sound, 14 minute 44 second loop, Edition of 10

Matt McCormick, future so bright: western edge (2007), Courtesy Elizabeth Leach Gallery

Do you enjoy having a large flat screen for watching movies and television, but wonder what to do with it when you’re not watching? You can transform that blank, black canvas into instant art with a piece of video work.

MK Guth, Still from Rapunzel (2005)

MK Guth, Rapunzel (2005), Courtesy ELizabeth Leach Gallery

Whether you’re creating a focal point for entertainment at a party or keeping it on throughout the day, a video art installation can be the new urban version of a fire in the fireplace. You can also use a projector to activate an entire wall with time-based art. Both options will fill your space with color, light, and motion. If you have several works, you can easily rotate them in and out for a constant refresher-as you might imagine, video works store very easily.

Vanessa Renwick, FULL ON LOG JAM (2010), video, 16 minutes 30 seconds (Installation View)

Vanessa Renwick, FULL ON LOG JAM (2010), Courtesy PDX Contemporary Art


Stephan Soihl, Linear Arrangement with Two Arrays (2006), brass, oil, plastic, pump, timer, 72" x 96" x 1"   

Stephan Soihl, Linear Arrangement with Two Arrays (2006), Courtesy Blackfish Gallery

Sculpture is far more than statuary, and can imbue any room with a look that is thoroughly contemporary. You may not have any wall space to spare, but have you considered the floor? What about the ceiling? Corners, mantles, and bookshelves can all become display surfaces for amazing objects. Consider mobiles- they’re not just for children anymore- which can provide a whimsical alternative to a chandelier. Display favorite sculptures on entryway tables for the full, in-the-round effect.

Lee Kelly, Nepal I & II (2010), steel with 24K gold, I. 75 x 14 x 6" II. 74 x 14.5 x 7.5"

Lee Kelly, Nepal I & II (2010), Courtesy Elizabeth Leach Gallery

Outdoor Sculpture

Lee Kelly Untitled (Khajuraho) (2009), corten steel, 76 x 109 x 20"

Lee Kelly Untitled (Khajuraho) (2009), Courtesy Elizabeth Leach Gallery

When thinking outside the wall, sometimes it helps to literally think outside. Adding outdoor sculpture to a garden, lawn or terrace is a great way to carry your love for art into your exterior spaces. Works range in size from small to monumental and in media from the organic to the industrial.

Chick Butcher, Displaced (2006), cast and coldworked glass, 11.875 x 59.5 x 4.75 inches installed, Photo: L. McGregor

Chick Butcher, Displaced (2006), Photo: L. McGregor, Courtesy Bullseye Gallery

Built to weather the elements (and the occasional child who loves to climb), outdoor sculptures create great focal points in the landscape. A collection of several sculptures can structure a gardening scheme and turn a front or back lawn into an outdoor gallery.

Jun Kaneko, African Reflection, Blue, Red, Yellow (2007), kilnformed glass, 83 x 204 x 10.5 inches (installed)

Jun Kaneko, African Reflection, Blue, Red, Yellow (2007), Courtesy Bullseye Gallery

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