A public garden & cultural center

Steven Millar

Call & Response | September 10–December 3, 2017

Pictured above: Many-eyed object, 2017, wood, glass, paint, steel, 60 x 24 x 12 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Peering into Many-Eyed Object, through its embedded glass portals and lenses one can experience an altered view of the landscape. Carved from part of a native tree, Millar’s manipulation of the wood alludes to various aspects of Wave Hill: the constructed architecture of the buildings, the trees on site and the shape of the shrubs and cacti. The use of glass references the materials of the greenhouse, and the shifting perspectives the lenses offer are intended to function similarly to the viewing platforms and terraces at Wave Hill. By combining existing forms with natural materials, Millar generates new vistas through which visitors can experience the grounds.

Sunroom Project Space | April 18–May 31, 2009

Enclave, 2009, wood dowels, plywood and laminate veneers, 5 x 7 x 16 feet. Courtesy of the artist.

Steven Millar’s Enclave is a dynamic sculptural exploration of the Riverdale neighborhood surrounding Wave Hill, focusing on the area west of the Henry Hudson Parkway and a section of Fieldston to the east. Working from a variety of sources, including aerial photos and archival maps, Millar has abstracted the neighborhood’s topography into a series of overlapping and interlocking planes held aloft by thin wooden dowels. Hundreds of laminate blocks are stacked and positioned on each plane to represent apartment buildings and homes. Together, the many levels describe the dramatic character of the landscape.

Shaped by the footprint of the area’s original estates, Riverdale escaped the rigid grid that defines much of New York City. Millar is interested in the way that historical events, like the city’s partial annexation of the Bronx in 1874, the arrival of mass transit and the construction of major roadways like the Henry Hudson Parkway, informed the development of the neighborhood. The contours of the planes are derived from this research, indicating contemporary streets and geological formations, as well as the artist’s own impressions of the site. To emphasize the contrast between the neighborhood’s urban density and suburban openness, he modified the proportions of the work, enlarging the laminate blocks and elevating apartment buildings to towering heights. At the same time, Millar employed an intuitive, painterly use of color, choosing a palette of vibrant blues and yellows alongside more neutral gray and cream tones. The shifting scale and expressive color choices allow the artist to move away from a literal rendering and toward a more complicated, evocative experience of place. 


Enclave (detail), 2009, wood dowels, plywood and laminate veneers,
5 x 7 x 16 feet. 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.