A public garden & cultural center

Margie Neuhaus

Call & Response | September 10–December 3, 2017

Pictured above: Penumbra, 2017, mylar thread, wire, acrylic ink, 14 x 11 x 7 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Wave Hill. Photo: Stefan Hagen.

Penumbra is inspired by Wave Hill’s gardens and greenhouses, spaces of refuge that encourage visitors to slow down and that heighten their awareness of the natural surroundings. Her sculpture parallels this experience by emphasizing visual and contemplative phenomena, pared down to the essence of color, light, layers and lines. The face of the piece is a scratched plastic scrim, emulating the glass windows of the greenhouse, a mask of diffusion that invites and furthers the gaze.

Sunroom Project Space | September 8–October 14, 2007

Synthesis, 2007, acrylic on acetate, vinyl, wire, rubber and acrylic rods, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. 

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.



Synthesis, 2007, acrylic on acetate, vinyl, wire, rubber and acrylic rods, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist. 

Artist website

The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; Michael J. Shannon; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York Community Trust Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Pollock-Krasner Foundation; The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts.