Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Artful Home: Ruth Asawa

I had to bop over to San Francisco's de Young Museum for a work thing this week (I know -- poor me). On my hurried way to check out the thing I needed to see, I was struck speechless by these ethereal wire sculptures by Ruth Asawa.

Seriously: One minute I was jogging to the elevator, and the next I was rooted to the spot where I stood, my mouth hanging agape at the gorgeousness before me.

The delicate biomorphic and organic sculptures themselves are breathtaking -- but it's the play of light and shadow that they cast upon the walls that's absolutely magical.

Although it turns out that I'd seen various pieces of Asawa's public art around the City over the years, I didn't know anything about her. And when I read up a bit on her life and work, I was even more blown away.

As a young woman during World War II, the California native was sent with her family to a Japanese internment camp, where she began to explore art. At art school, she studied under Buckminster Fuller and learned traditional basket-making techniques while traveling in Mexico.

Photo by Laurence Cuneo

In the 1950s, Asawa actually crocheted these pieces from iron, copper, brass, and bronze, often working late into the night while her six -- yes, you read that right: six -- young children slept. (So much for that "parenthood leaves me no time for creativity" rationalization, eh?)

Her work has been exhibited at various California museums as well as at New York's Whitney and the Museum of Modern Art. Asawa also dedicated much of her life to advancing and safeguarding art in San Francisco's public schools.

For more on Ruth Asawa and her amazing creations, keep an eye out for the book Contours in the Air. And if you're in the Bay Area, don't miss the opportunity to see her beautiful wire sculptures in person at the de Young -- they're in the Hamon Tower entrance on the ground floor, which you can visit for free.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have you seen Jriot over at Etsy. He's doing some wire work like this on a much smaller scale.


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