Maya Lin Systematic Landscapes in New York

Maya Lin Systematic Landscapes in New York

IMGP0683 Blue Lake Pass, on the south shoulder of the Telluride region's Mount Sneffels, is a narrow, sharp saddle between Gilpin Peak and Mount Sneffels, with rocky ridges extending off each mountain. The view to the West is into the Mount Sneffels Wilderness Area; to the northeast, to Teakettle Mountain and  little Coffeepot Mountain. East access is via wildflower-filled Yankee Boy Basin on this favorite local hike.

"Blue Lake Pass" is one of three large-scale environmental installations by part-time Telluride area local, artist/architect Maya Lin, selected from her recent traveling museum exhibition Systematic Landscapes.

Telluride Inside… and Out happened into the show on a visit to Chelsea last Thursday, October 22.

The sense of perfect quiet grace that greeted us when we walked through the doors of the Pace Wildenstein Gallery transported me back to the day I was on break from my teaching job in Japan and visited Kyoto's famous Stone Garden at Ryoanji, a Zen temple, where I stayed for hours contemplating the pregnant stillness.

Cubes forming the sculpture,"Blue Lake Pass" are made from vertical sheets of particle board with the top edges cut to match a topographic line. Pulled apart into a grid, the topographic image is disjointed: spaces between the cubes become narrow paths, or cuts, through the geography of the sculpture, exposing strata much like a highway carved through a mountain pass.

IMGP0694 Sculptor David Smith was known for his early line drawings in metal, but nothing as delicate as Maya Lin's "Water Line" of a particular underwater location on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The site rises a few miles from the sea floor and is visible on the surface as Bouvet Island, one of the most remote islands in the world. Working with scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Lin and members of her studio, developed a topographic rendering of the seascape. The rendering was translated into architectural scale and fabricated from quarter-inch diameter aluminum tubes.

IMGP0690 Emmy-winner Samantha Hilbert, a former Telluride local who joined us on that memorable day, thought 2×4 Landscape resembled a pregnant woman lying on her back. From some views the sculpture reads as a sensuous land form, and from other locations, it is a rising wave. The work, composed of more than fifty thousand vertical two-by-four boards placed in a configuration minutely detailed in models and drawings, covers approximately 2,400 square feet, rising from a plane of short two-by-four segments to a wave or hill that swells to a height of 10 feet. Maya Lin conceived of 2 X 4 as a way to bring landscape into an architectural setting.

Maya Lin has stated that her creative process is a synthesis of research and analysis and purely intuitive gesture.

Maya Lin leap-frogged into the limelight when, as a senior at Yale, she submitted the winning design in a national competition for a Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a favorite tourist stop in our nation's capitol. A dedicated environmentalis, Maya Lin is committed to drawing attention to the natural world through her sculptures, parks, monuments, and architectural projects.

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