NEW YORK, NY.-
Olga de Amaral: Places, an exhibition of 23 hangings, opened at the Nohra Haime Gallery
on September 13th.
First exhibited in New York at the André Emmerich Gallery in 1973, Amarals abstract golden surfaces of light are unlike anything else. Transcending any one specific media, her work plays a unique balancing act between fine art and fiber art. Filling a gap that is virtually untouched, she pulls inspiration from pre-Columbian weaving and precious metals, abstracting them to the extent of universality. Gold has become a formal part of her vocabulary and renders her work collectively recognizable.
Methodically assembled with a myriad of rectangular pre-fabricated pieces of fiber made into strips and rolls, the artist recreates the inner world of the universe. She choreographs these compositions with a labyrinth of winding, swirling and twisting interwoven patterns. Wind, light, mountains, trees, and rivers take heroic grandeur in her exploration of the universe.
Leaving the static world of the two dimensional surface, she conceives monochromatic environments of shivering presence and seductive forms. She weaves, cuts, molds, tints, and conceives marks, experimenting, fusing and merging, creating a tension thus redefining the natural order of things. In Arboles, (Trees,) 2012, Amaral uses gesso, acrylic and gold leaf with intricately woven pieces of linen to achieve a rich and luminous effect. The panels steady downward flows mingle and merge, calling to mind a group of close-knit trees, their branches and leaves intertwining in the light.
In Montana 23, (Mountain 23,) 2005, she adds parchment, an ancient material made from animal skin used for writing thus investing the work with an added timeless element. Amaral manipulates this natural ingredient, working it into the linen, forming a cascade of abstract shapes that fall into an easy flow of horizontal lines. Hinting at a distant mountain and the sparkling river at its feet, she transports the viewer to another place.
Falling from the ceiling three knots of numerous black, gold and blue threads cascade to descend freely unto a majestic swirl on the ground. Overwhelmingly lyrical, they underscore the transformational qualities of thread, and its interaction with the environment.
Amaral successfully crosses the boundaries between painting, sculpture and textile. Her work is the antithesis of conventional, continually gathering inspiration and spanning the physical, cultural, economic and earthly aspects of our universe.
Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Olga de Amaral studied at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. During the 1960s, Amaral played an important role in transforming traditional two-dimensional textiles into sculptural works of art. In 1973 she was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship, and in 2005 she was selected as an Artist Visionary by the Museum of Art and Design in New York, an award that celebrates her commitment to the highest quality. They highlighted how Amaral seamlessly integrates art, craft and design through engagement with both materials and process. She is represented in the collections of over 40 museums worldwide including the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.