Local Public Art: Caroline Lathan-Stiefel

January 9, 2012 in Fiber Crafts, Inspiration by

Thanks to Flux Projects, Atlanta has a steady flow of temporary art installations throughout the city (I really loved Charlie Brouwer’s Rise Up Atlanta last April in Freedom Park on Moreland). The current public commission is Caroline Lathan-Stiefel’s Ocean. In general, her work features labor crafting processes, such as sewing, weaving (often with pipe cleaners), and crocheting, to create abstract landscapes and biologically-inspired structures. While Lathan-Stiefel is not from Atlanta, her work is heavily inspired by late Georgian native Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden, most evident in her material choices and mosaic composition. Ocean is no exception to this palette.

From Flux Projects

October 2011 – June 2012
Corner of Edgewood Avenue & Boulevard
Old Department Store Building

Installed on the exterior of a historic Atlanta building that was once a department store, Ocean is a site-specific installation by CarolineLathan-Stiefel that will grow and transform over time.

Inspired by the classic Polish science fiction book, Solaris (by Stanislaw Lem, 1961), Lathan-Stiefel has created a large-scale sculpture consisting of pipe cleaners, fabric, thread, fishing weights, and plastic from an abundant variety of shopping bags. In the book, the planet Solaris is almost completely covered with a sentient ocean that remains a mystery to the humans who attempt to understand it. Focusing on descriptions of the ocean as an elastic, expandable body of water that creates enormous, unimaginably intricate forms, Lathan-Stiefel’s installation will be a lightweight, complex textile construction made up of many components. Overall, Ocean will also be a kind of parasite–a transient form that will have a dependent relationship with the building to which it is attached. Specific lines of text from a recent translation of the book will also be incorporated into the work to create an additional link.

Different phases of Ocean will be installed in October 2011, December 2011, January 2012, and finally in the spring of 2012.

Check out Caroline Lathan-Stiefel’s website to see her other work.


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