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c. 2018 Melanie Manos

Pillars of the Community

Multi-media installation for A Heightened State, solo exhibition at Simone DeSousa Gallery Detroit  July 2014

 

Tiny figures climb birch and maple trees, in a reversal of humans' perceived domination of nature, while attesting to both perseverance and vulnerability. Hung scroll-like, the charcoal on vellum drawings offer a transparent fragility in contrast to the solidity of the cement columns. A video "window" reveals bamboo and pine trees swaying in strong wind, and their sound fills the gallery. Lichen made of clay cling to a columns while

found tree trunks coated with natural oils offer seating for contemplation.

click image to enlarge

Video shot in Arashiyama, Kyoto, and at The MacDowell Colony, Petersborough,

New Hampshire.

Pillars is a multi-media installation created in response to the large cement structural columns that protrude into the Simone DeSousa Gallery on the ground level of the historic Willys Overland Building, built in 1917. The columns awkwardly impose into the gallery space on the left side only, as a result of interior repurposing for retail and living spaces in what was once an automobile factory. This disharmony is both distracting and compelling to me.  I sought to create balance in the space through drawings, audio, video, and sculpture of the pillars from the natural world: trees. Drawings began while in residence at The MacDowell Colony, New Hampshire, in a studio surrounded by towering pines.