- Kate Newby
A puzzling light and moving.
The lumber room presents A puzzling light and moving. part II, the second public encounter with New Zealand born and New York-based artist, Kate Newby’s year-long engagement.
Part I opened on October 6, 2018. Four months later part II opened January 20, 2019 and part III will open July 29, 2019. On October 6, 2019 we will close the project with a celebration.
From the beginning of the project, the idea has been to create an opportunity to spend a slow time with the work of Kate Newby over an extended period. The lumber room has been offered for investigation, experimentation, and the development of newly commissioned work. Work will come and go, expand and contract, and move at a deliberate and steady pace.
In part II Kate returned in January 2019 to pursue an ambitious idea she had begun to explore in September 2018. The creation of a series of windows, thirty-nine in total, to replace a large number of the divided-light windows that make up the east facing wall of the lumber room space. Each window pane consists of one or more holes created by the artist’s hands, allowing the light, the texture, the sound, and the air to change the atmosphere of the space. On closer inspection, I screamed, “I was there!”, the viewer feels the brush of air and observes the clarity of sight and sound through the holes, to find with a jolt of awareness and delight that the holes are real. To further extend the experience, Kate placed three large ceramic rocks, It doesn’t hurt to know it, one yellow, one orange and one white, atop the roof of a building two blocks away and eight stories high. The rocks appear from within the viewing space of the lumber room yet they preside over the neighborhood to appear as one goes about their day on the streets below or the buildings across the way.
Kate created additional works, a brass cast doorknob, handmade rope of sheep’s wool, a small chime of cast tree branches, an offsite puddle and a rug with text. Two major works from part I remain. The first a large-scale ceramic tiled roof structure, The having seems great, on the small interior patio. Similar in scale to the window work, I screamed “I was there!”, these two works combine the smaller gestures of the artist to create large-scale work directly inserted into the structure of the building. The second work to remain from part I is a puddle, Nothing that’s over so soon should give you so much strength, directly embedded in the concrete pavers on the large patio. It is an intimate and delightful experience to gaze into the concrete puddle filled with ceramic objects and 42 silver cast wooden matchsticks made by the artist, yet to then register the brute force needed to break the patio pavers to make room for it. This is quiet work of an ambitious mind.
A puzzling light and moving. part II reached out to the community beyond the walls of the lumber room. Across the Willamette River sits another concrete puddle on the edge of a neighborhood park. It is surrounded by lush grass and a community of good food and music, quiet conversation and rambunctious children.
Over one hundred cups were made by artists, friends, and family on a Sunday afternoon at the lumber room. Each unique and each stamped with an invitation on the bottom to come to the lumber room on October 6, 2019, at 4PM. A person chooses a cup, it is filled, enjoyed and sent out of the lumber room with the invitation stamped on the bottom to return to the lumber room to be refilled at the closing celebration with Kate.
From the beginning musicians, dancers and writers have been invited to perform for the work. Organized by Libby Werbel, Director of Public Performance, each performance is developed with the artist(s) to determine the time of day, the location within the space, how the public will engage with the performance. You can experience these events here.
A final project was initiated with part II, The Temperature Report is a three-part newsletter with a set number of correspondents who live in various locations across the U.S. and the world. The newsletter marks the passage of the Newby’s exhibition by documenting subjective experiences of comfort and discomfort: an open-ended prompt solicits information about personal experiences of climate (and climate control) from contributors as they swell and contract across the seasons. The Temperature Report is freely distributed through the lumber room. The second edition will be available July 28 followed by the final edition on October 6.
The extended time frame for Kate Newby’s exhibition, A puzzling light and moving, offers the artist the freedom to dive deep into the work, to challenge the ideas, the motivations and most importantly gives the opportunity to experiment and create new work. The artist is given space to come back and respond to initial works made, pinpointing, highlighting and delving into work in a way that isn’t possible with the traditional format of an exhibition. Equally as significant, the audience is also given the opportunity to return and see work unfold. A puzzling light and moving. is an invitation to view what is usually a private and hidden process.
Press: Artforum, Jon Raymond
Please view A puzzling light and moving. performance series here.