I travel through the world touching: walls, moss-covered stones, pebbly beaches, tree trunks, water rippling through brooks, whatever attracts my attention. By touching, it becomes more of a bona fide way than merely viewing it. By continually touching, image and texture blend. It is possible to viscerally imagine the texture of scenes and objects far off. This is where I started in creating work for Paysage Tactile.
Though a New Yorker for 40 years, I grew up in a valley between two mountain ranges in the Pacific Northwest. The Cascade Range has tall volcanic peaks that climb above the tree line, and never lose all their snow. The Oregon Coast Range is perpetually green, cloaked in majestic conifers. As a child, I can remember the sun literally rising and setting over these summits. These elevations influenced the temperature and rainfall of the valley and thus my atmosphere of my youth. I hiked and camped and skied in these mountains. I still think and dream about them, to the extent that when one says “landscape,” I think of mountains, the idea source for this exhibition.
Then the pandemic hit. I fell ill, my world usually defined by ease of travel, walking 3-6 kilometers daily, going freely where ever I please, was reduced to my home, with windows in front and in back, sometimes just my bed. My physical world shrunk to a few square meters, and I became acutely aware of the other worlds I know: imagined, spiritual both vast and infinite as well as myopic and microscopic. A landscape became the small plot of earth in front of my home with ivy and cherry tree, or the large elm branch that stretches toward my back window. I thought of the myriad worlds that simultaneously exist for me.
That brought me to create this series of works: Other Worlds: Maya I, Others Worlds: Maya II, and Other Worlds: Maya III. Each one is made of parts that have three layers of gauze infused with acrylic fabric stiffener. To start, I create mountain-like forms from plasticine and cast the gauze over them. The three works are made up of 10 to 20 parts each. Similar in form, but each one in diminishing size, they are either hanging or nestled. What do they feel like, what ideas, feelings or images do they conjure up? The hanging pieces may be lightly touched, as one touches a wall or leafy branch. The nestled pieces may be picked up and stacked, set up side my side, shown both inverted and upright. Visitors becomes the sculptor, creating their personal tactile landscapes