A public garden & cultural center

Claudia Weber

Call & Response | September 10–December 3, 2017

Pictured above: Nonesuch—A Recollection, 2017, vinyl letters, 23 x 11 1/2 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Wave Hill.

This text piece is inspired by the moment when a visitor, gazing out a window in the Sunroom, stepped backward and shattered parts of Weber’s 2011 floor sculpture Nonesuch. Installed as vinyl letters on a wall between two windows, Weber uses this scenario—and the transformative moment it triggered with a small, backward step—as a mode of reflection. The text’s content is a philosophical account of framing, and how it might influence the act of looking and contemplating. It enabled the artist not only to create a direct link to her former Sunroom Project, but also to reconsider its meaning and site-specificity in a new context. For the artist, the act of stepping back is a conceptual vehicle for reflecting on art, nature and awareness.

Nonesuch
Sunroom Project Space | May 14–June 19, 2011

Installation views and details of Claudia Weber’s Nonesuch, 2011

Nonesuch, 2011, mixed media, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.

Informed by theories of materiality and objecthood, Claudia Weber’s work investigates the symbolic meanings that become embedded in architecture through societal value systems. In her Sunroom Project, Weber explores transitions between the interior of Glyndor House and the surrounding landscape while she considers the property’s contextual shift from privileged domicile to public garden and cultural institution. Weber’s project, which she developed during Wave Hill's 2011 Winter Workspace Program, takes its title from the name of the Victorian-style villa that originally stood on the site of the current Glyndor House. Nonesuch was built in the 1860s by Oliver Harriman, a New York financier, and its name connotes its peerless presence and ideal setting. However, the word could also imply “no such thing,” thus evoking the realm of the imaginary and fantastical.

Weber uses a mixed-media, site-specific approach to address the transformation of living, botanical matter into a wide spectrum of architectural and cultural representations, reaching from the idealized and exclusive, to the pragmatic and mundane. At the center of the Sunroom is a sculptural assemblage consisting of various materials, including glass, wood, paper and paint. The transparent layers of the sculpture both frame and integrate the objects while heightening awareness of the substance of the building’s interior and its surrounding gardens. On the north wall of the Sunroom is an enlarged photograph of a collection of materials that features a multi-colored set of architectural samples in the form of the acanthus leaf. This imported plant is present amongst the foliage in the Wave Hill grounds, while architectural elements inspired by the form of its leaves can be found inside Glyndor House. The acanthus leaf has been a mainstay in architectural decoration since it was used by the ancient Greeks on the capitals of columns from the Corinthian order, and through its prevalence has become both paradigmatic and abstracted to the point where the original source, the living plant, can itself be considered a “nonesuch.”

The following images are installation views and details of Claudia Weber’s Nonesuch, 2011; marble, 3 sheets of glass partly painted, wood, wooden chair, cotton tote bag, plaster powder, brass, metal, paper, screen, brush. All photos are courtesy of the artist.

Installation views and details of Claudia Weber’s Nonesuch, 2011

Installation views and details of Claudia Weber’s Nonesuch, 2011

Installation views and details of Claudia Weber’s Nonesuch, 2011

Installation views and details of Claudia Weber’s Nonesuch, 2011

Nonesuch, 2011, mixed media, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.

Winter Workspace Program 2011
Glyndor Gallery | January 4–February 13, 2011

Claudia Weber is interested in contextual shifts in architecture and interiors, merging photo documentation with abstraction and flat imagery with sculptural form to create site-specific installations. At Wave Hill, she is researching the Georgian Revival style and exploring the transformation of natural elements into architectural abstractions seen throughout Glyndor House. 

 

 Artist website

The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts. 
 

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