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Indianapolis Museum of Art Commissions Heather Rowe for Installation Series
Heather Rowe, "Something Crossed the Mind" (Embellished Three Times), 2008. Plywood, drywall, wallpaper, mirror and molding. (548.6 x 221 x 243.8 cm) 216 x 87 x 96 inches. Installation view: Whitney Biennial 2008. Whitney Biennial. (HR-28-SC)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN.- The Indianapolis Museum of Art today announced that New York-based artist Heather Rowe will create the next site-specific installation in its Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion series. Rowe’s newly commissioned sculpture, which will incorporate found objects sourced by architectural remnant shops in Indianapolis, will be on view in the IMA’s main entrance pavilion from February 19 to August 1, 2010.

Rowe will create a new installation that responds directly to the distinctive configuration of the Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion space. Her sculpture will employ basic architectural materials such as wood, sheetrock and metal to create a multifaceted structure that takes the form of a succession of cascading frames, suggesting an unfolding screen or a series of freestanding walls. Found interior furnishings such as chairs, mirror frames, fireplace mantles and wallpaper, many of which will be scavenged from architectural remnant shops around Indianapolis, will be incorporated into this structure. Taking Robert Altman’s 1977 film 'Three Women' as a starting point, Rowe will use color schemes and other filmic details to evoke the sense of three different “characters” within her composition.

“Heather Rowe’s sculptural installations combine an incredibly sophisticated sense of structure and form with a fascinating psychological charge, exploring how architectural space can manifest a sense of subjectivity,” says Allison Unruh, assistant curator of contemporary art. “The portions of furnishings that she embeds in her structures hint at possible narratives, while also implicating the viewer by capturing their shifting reflections in shards of mirror. I am always impressed by how richly layered her work is, and how it rewards sustained and repeated viewing because it transforms so dramatically as one moves around and views it from different perspectives.”

Over the past 10 years, Rowe has developed a unique sculptural practice in which she employs architectural fragments to create complex abstract compositions that engage the space around them in surprising and often poetic ways. Rowe assembles what appear to be slivers of rooms, often suggesting a three-dimensional series of frames that can mimic a filmic sequence, offering rich narrative allusions. The interstitial openings in her wall-like forms are filled with domestic furnishings that create a dynamic play between “inside” and “outside” surfaces. Shards of mirrors are inserted throughout the work, complicating the work’s arrangement within the rotunda. Recalling Gordon Matta-Clark’s influential “building cuts” of the 1970s, Rowe’s works deconstruct notions of interiority and provoke viewers to move about and engage in the complex space the sculptures create.

Heather Rowe states, “This work will attempt to raise questions of whether what defines us as individuals is a fixed condition, or really something that is quite tenuous and fragile with the possibility of a sudden and complete shift. In the details of this work I will be creating different ‘personalities’ through decorative furnishings, wallpaper, color choices and planted elements. It will explore the choices which might make a space an expression of someone's personality. The absence of the figure will be carved out of the space by strategically placed mirror slices—activated by viewers entering IMA's pavilion, their reflections caught between and within the meandering structure.”

Rowe’s sculpture is part of the Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion installation series launched in February 2007 and made possible by a $2.5 million grant from the Indianapolis-based Efroymson Fund. The works are installed on a rotating basis with a new commission from a different artist approximately every six months. Rowe’s work will be followed by a site-specific installation by Los Angeles–based design team Ball-Nogues Studio in fall 2010. Led by architects Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues, the studio works collaboratively to form large-scale, temporary installations using custom-designed software, automated cutting techniques and hands-on research and assembly.

Heather Rowe
Heather Rowe (b. 1970, New Haven, Connecticut) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She received her MFA in 2001 from Columbia University, School of the Arts, New York, and her BFA in 1993 from Massachusetts College of Art, Boston. Rowe has been featured in the 2008 Whitney Biennial, and a number of solo exhibitions at D’Amelio Terras Gallery in New York and Galerie Michael Zink in Munich. Among the group exhibitions that have included her works are "A House is Not a Home", "La Calmeleterie in Nazelles-Négron, France", 2008; "Without Walls", Museum 52, New York, 2008; "Only Connect, Art in General", New York, 2008; "Undone", Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria, New York, 2007; and Open Walls #2, White Columns, New York, 2006.

In 2009, Rowe was commissioned to create a site-specific installation at the University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor, and one of her works is currently featured in the group show Between Spaces at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in New York. Rowe has been awarded residencies from Sculpture Space, Utica, New York, in 2006 and Smack Mellon Studio Program, Brooklyn, New York, in 2001, and was awarded the Hayward Prize of the Salzburg Stiftung, American Austrian Foundation in 2001. In 2009, she served as an Adjunct Professor at Rhode Island School of Design, and in 2008 was a visiting critic at Yale School of Art, Brandeis University and Cooper Union. Rowe’s work has been featured in a new publication from Phaidon Press titled 'Vitamin 3-D: New Perspectives in Sculpture and Installation'.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art | Heather Rowe | Installation Series |

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