Call & Response
Sunroom Project Space | September 8–October 14, 2007
Margie Neuhaus has long been interested in natural phenomena, particularly in the human nervous system and various forms of sea life. With the opportunity to create a project for Wave Hill’s sunroom, she turned her attention to the plant world. The tenacity of vines creeping across the windows inspired the installation’s form and the light streaming in led her to explore the process of photosynthesis. A biologist colleague at the College of New Rochelle, where Neuhaus teaches, introduced her to botanical resources where she pored over slides of plant cells and prepared new ones to study under the microscope. She then created three-dimensional sketches to experiment with materials and color, and explore the physicality of vine growth, and the structures for water, air and fuel transport through the stems and leaves. The result is a 60-foot swirling structure that envelops the visitor, with a dense, grotto-like formation in one corner of the room. Neuhaus employs an array of materials such as colored wire, laser-cut plastics, and yellow rods that carry the light from the windows and tie together flowing sheets of green painted acetate. While not specifically replicating the cellular structures, the installation expresses the wonder of the natural world and is a lively counterpart to the vines on the windowpanes, the squash plants in the foreground, and the view to the woodlands beyond.
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.